What is IBS?

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (also known as spastic colon, and sometimes improperly termed spastic colitis) is a devastating and incurable condition that afflicts up to 20% of the world’s population. It is the most common chronic health disorder in America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, affecting more people than asthma, diabetes, and depression combined.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects more than twice as many women as men, for reasons that are not yet understood.

IBS is a physical — not psychological — disorder characterized by lower abdominal pain (spasms or cramps) or discomfort, diarrhea, constipation (or alternating diarrhea & constipation), gas, bloating, and nausea. There is no cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is actually a brain-gut dysfunction, but there are many very effective ways of controlling and even eliminating IBS symptoms through safe Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatments.

Most individuals are surprised to learn they are not alone with symptoms of IBS. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects approximately 10-20% of the general population. It is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists (doctors who specialize in medical treatment of disorders of the stomach and intestines) and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians.

Sometimes irritable bowel syndrome is referred to as spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, nervous stomach, or irritable colon.Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is generally classified as a “functional” disorder. A functional disorder refers to a disorder or disease where the primary abnormality is an altered physiological function (the way the body works), rather than an identifiable structural or biochemical cause. It characterizes a disorder that generally can not be diagnosed in a traditional way; that is, as an inflammatory, infectious, or structural abnormality that can be seen by commonly used examination, x-ray, or blood test.

Irritable bowel syndrome is understood as a multi-faceted disorder. In people with IBS, symptoms result from what appears to be a disturbance in the interaction between the gut or intestines, the brain, and the autonomic nervous system that alters regulation of bowel motility (motor function) or sensory function.

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by a group of symptoms in which abdominal pain or discomfort is associated with a change in bowel pattern, such as loose or more frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, and/or constipation.