Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition associated with intermittent abdominal pain, abnormal stools, and bloating. The disorder can occur spontaneously, with a certain frequency, causing great discomfort. This condition can and should be controlled, treated, and preventive measures applied. Below is detailed information about its causes, symptoms and treatment. Some people are helped by this remedy:

Irritable bowel syndrome is common in adults. Its prevalence worldwide can range from 1% to 28%. The frequency of occurrence is influenced by place of residence (it is higher in European countries, in the United States, the condition is more often diagnosed in residents of cities rather than rural areas), gender (women go to the doctor with this problem on average twice as often as men).

With this syndrome, abdominal pain occurs periodically. They are accompanied by flatulence, diarrhea or, on the contrary, constipation. It occurs because of changes of intestinal motility and sensitivity to stimulation which, in turn, can be connected with a combination of psychosocial and physiological factors.

Psychosocial disorders
Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with a number of conditions, including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, and others. Conflicts and stress can exacerbate symptoms, provoke an exacerbation, but sometimes they do not affect the appearance of malaise at all.

Physiological changes
The peculiarities of intestinal physiology can influence the appearance of symptoms. In hyperalgesia, the sensitivity of the bowel to the usual stretching of the walls is increased, and painful sensations occur. Autonomic disorders, a history of acute gastroenteritis, and too strong a contractile response of the colon to food intake can cause discomfort. In women, bowel function may depend in part on fluctuations in hormone levels and its changes during the menstrual cycle.

The occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome can also be influenced by hereditary factors, physical stress, unbalanced diet, autonomic nervous system disorders, and disruption of intestinal microflora. These factors may have a combined effect, increasing or decreasing the manifestations of the syndrome. At the same time, their presence does not mean that the syndrome will occur necessarily. It is not associated with structural changes in the intestine (diagnosis does not reveal them).


With irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain occurs at least once a week and is associated with the following symptoms or conditions:

flatulence, rumbling in the abdomen, increased gas, bloating;
A feeling of straining when defecating or a feeling that the bowels have not been emptied completely;
too infrequent or frequent stools (less than three times a week or more than three times a day), changes in their shape, the presence of mucus in the stool.
The main symptom is abdominal pain. Their intensity and frequency may vary: some patients have abdominal pain almost every day, while others have it less frequently, once every few weeks or even months. Abdominal pain may occur after meals, accompanied by bloating, diarrhea, or flatulence. Pain can also occur after waking up, stress, emotional excitement, physical tension. It usually goes away after defecation. The abdomen does not hurt at night, more often the pain appears on the left side in the iliac area (pain can also be diffuse). In general, the pain syndrome is stable, does not increase, does not change with time.

Abdominal bloating is felt by patients as an increasing discomfort. The lower part of the abdomen increases in volume so that clothing may become tight. There is a rumbling sensation, and increased gas formation in the intestines (flatulence) is observed.

Some patients may have symptoms unrelated to the gastrointestinal tract:

migraines, frequent headaches;
weakness, rapid fatigue, fatigue;
difficulty breathing (feeling of incomplete inhalation or a lump in the throat);
discomfort in the chest and heart area (including at night);
heartburn, nausea, and early satiety;
problems with urination (too frequent, false urge, feeling that the bladder has not been emptied completely);
Back pain.
These symptoms occur more often in patients who have serious psychological, emotional problems.


To diagnose irritable bowel syndrome, assess the clinical picture, medical history, the potential influence of psychological factors, conduct an examination.

To clarify the diagnosis and rule out other bowel disorders, a number of basic investigations and tests are performed.

Additionally, the psychological status of the patient is evaluated, and separately, the level of anxiety and depression.

Differential diagnosis is of great importance. It is important to exclude inflammatory diseases, infections, acute conditions, colitis, metabolic disorders, and other diseases. The following symptoms and conditions are not associated with irritable bowel syndrome:

The occurrence of pain at night;
loss of weight;
persistent abdominal pain in the absence of other symptoms;
the disease is progressive, its manifestations are intensified;
fever, fever;
presence of relatives with ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, colorectal cancer;
at laboratory diagnosis – detection of hidden blood in stool, changes in biochemical blood values, leukocytosis, increased sedimentation, decreased hemoglobin levels.
These are signs of organic changes that require in-depth examination.