What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of bowl function and often manifest in problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating and pain. IBS is a very common condition and it is estimated that it affects approximately 10-15 percent of the population worldwide. However, it is more common among women.


Is It Dangerous?


IBS, though tiresome and uncomfortable, is not associated with any serious medical consequences. It is not a risk factor for other gastroenterological disorders and IBS won’t put other organs such as the liver or kidneys at risk for complications.

IBS does, however, impact in the quality of life of a person suffering from the condition, which makes IBS a troublesome diagnosis.


Diagnosis & Treatment


A doctor will be able to give you a correct diagnosis by taking a careful medical history, addressing specific symptoms with treatment, as well as a physical exam and routine blood samples. For some patients, an endoscopy may be performed and anyone over 50 years of age should have a colonoscopy as part of the routine screening to rule put cancer.


Changes and management of lifestyle, e.g. diet and stress management, may help to reduce some IBS symptoms. Many people living with IBS find it helpful  to make the following diet changes:


  • Limiting gas producing foods, such as beans and cabbage;
  • Avoiding carbonated drinks and chewing gums;
  • Limiting gluten, such as white bread, pasta and rice and instead consuming more fibrous carbohydrates, such as brown bread, whole meal pasta and brown rice;
  • Limiting milk sugar, or lactose, e.g. cow’s milk and dairy products made with cow’s milk;


Other changes in lifestyle which may help include stress management and engaging in physical activity, such as yoga.


There is no cure for IBS and at the moment there is no treatment that will help all people suffering from IBS. If you have problems and believe you might have IBS, contact our GI center for a consultation with one of our specialists.