Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:
-- The first section of this topic is shown below --
- A gastrointestinal disorder characterized by
- Chronic and/or recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort and alteration in bowel habits
- May be characterized as diarrhea-predominant or constipation-predominant; may alternate between
- Synonym(s): spastic colon; irritable colon
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) accounts for up to 50% of visits to gastroenterologists:
- Second only to upper respiratory infection as cause of lost workdays
Pooled estimate of 11% IBS prevalence internationally; ranges from South Asia (7%) to South America (21%) (1)
- Predominant age: 20 to 39 years
- If age >50 years, consider other diagnoses.
- Predominant sex: in the United States, female > male (2:1)
- More common in low socioeconomic communities
Etiology and Pathophysiology
- The etiology is unknown, associated with intestinal motility abnormalities and enhanced sensitivity to visceral stimuli.
- The trigger may be luminal or environmental.
- Evidence for the role of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in IBS and association with antibiotic therapy is controversial; older age and female gender are predictors of SIBO in IBS patients.
Unknown but more common in families of IBS patients
- Other family members with similar GI disorder
- History of childhood sexual abuse
- Sexual/domestic abuse (primarily in women)
- Gastrointestinal infection
No risk to mother or fetus
Commonly Associated Conditions
- Chronic migraine
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Psychiatric disorders: major depression, anxiety, somatoform disorders, and posttraumatic stress
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction