Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Monday, March 21, 2011

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms affect men and women of all ages and of all races. It is estimated that 15 percent of Americans suffer from IBS symptoms. Dr. Edward Hill explains more in todays Sixty Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Irritable bowel syndrome refers to a disorder of the lower intestinal tract. It involves abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements. Emotional stress often makes the symptoms worse.

IBS involves a combination of abdominal pain and constipation, diarrhea or an alternating pattern of these problems.

There are many possible causes. For example, there may be a problem with muscle movement in the intestine or a lower tolerance for stretching and movement of the intestine. There is no problem with the structure of the intestine.

It is not clear why patients develop IBS, but in some instances, it occurs after an intestinal infection. There may also be other triggers.

IBS can occur at any age, but it often begins in adolescence or early adulthood. It is more common in women.

Most people with this problem can be helped with diet and medication. Irritable bowel syndrome is not a dangerous illness and does not progress to a more serious disease like inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. It can, however, be socially devastating and greatly interfere with your life.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.