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IBS Symptoms - Important Concepts with Causes and Cure for NEET

Last updated date: 29th May 2024
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An Introduction to IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common illness that affects the large intestine. Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea or constipation, or both, are signs and symptoms. IBS is a long-term medical condition with which a person will have to contend. Only a small minority of IBS sufferers have severe signs and symptoms. Some people can manage their symptoms with diet, lifestyle, and stress management. More serious complications may require medication and therapy.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a collection of symptoms that include abdominal pain and changes in bowel motions, which might include diarrhoea, constipation, or both. Functional GI diseases, often known as gut-brain interaction disorders, are caused by issues with how the brain and gut interact. These issues can make the gut more sensitive and change the way the intestinal muscles contract. Abdominal pain and bloating may be more common if the gut is more sensitive. Diarrhoea, constipation, or both are caused by changes in the way the muscles of the intestine contract.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Lower abdomen pain that is less intense after a bowel movement is the most prevalent symptom of IBS. Pain can be reduced by dietary changes, stress-relieving therapy, and some drugs.

  • IBS is characterised by frequent, loose faeces, which are a sign of the diarrhoea-predominant kind. There may be a presence of mucus in stools.

  • IBS is characterised by frequent, loose faeces, which are a sign of the diarrhoea-predominant kind. 

  • About 20% of patients with IBS have diarrhoea and constipation at the same time. They continue to have pain relief from bowel movements throughout each phase.

  • The length of time stool stays in the intestines is affected by IBS. This alters the amount of water in the stool, resulting in a spectrum of loose, watery, hard, and dry stools.

  • Some of the most common and aggravating symptoms of IBS are gas and bloating.

  • Caffeine, for example, is a common trigger food for people with IBS.

  • When compared to people who do not have IBS, those with it are more tired and report less restful sleep. More severe gastrointestinal problems are linked to fatigue and poor sleep quality.

  • IBS can cause a vicious cycle in which digestive issues cause anxiety, and anxiety causes digestive symptoms to worsen. Taking care of anxiety can aid in the reduction of other symptoms.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The IBS reasons include the following:

  • The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that flex to move food through the digestive tract. Food transit can be slowed by weak intestinal contractions, resulting in firm, dry stools.

  • Abnormalities in the nerves of the digestive system may cause a person to feel more uncomfortable than usual when the abdomen stretches from gas or excrement. The body may overreact to changes in the digestive process due to a lack of coordination between the brain and the intestines, resulting in pain, diarrhoea, or constipation.

  • IBS might develop after a severe attack of diarrhoea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus.

  • IBS symptoms are more likely to develop in people who have been exposed to stressful circumstances, especially children.

  • Changes in bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which ordinarily reside in the intestines and play an important role in health, are examples. According to research, microbes in people with IBS may differ from those in healthy people.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

How is IBS Diagnosed?

There is no definite test to diagnose IBS. The doctor will most likely do a thorough medical history, physical examination, and testing to rule out other disorders such as celiac disease.

Several tests, including stool tests to screen for infection or difficulties with the intestine's ability to absorb nutrients from meals, may be recommended by the doctor (malabsorption). The techniques listed below are examples of diagnostic procedures.

  • Colonoscopy: The doctor examines the full length of the colon with a thin, flexible tube.

  • CT scan or X-ray: These tests produce images of the stomach and pelvis that can help the doctor rule out alternative causes of the symptoms, especially if a person is having abdominal pain.

  • Upper Intestinal Endoscopy: A long, flexible tube is inserted into the tube that joins the mouth and stomach and travels down the neck (oesophagus). The doctor examines the upper digestive tract with a camera on the end of the tube and obtains a tissue sample (biopsy) from the small intestine as well as fluid to check for bacterial overgrowth.

How to Cure IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatment focuses on symptom relief so that one can live as normally as possible. Mild symptoms and indicators can usually be handled by reducing stress and making dietary and lifestyle changes. Make an effort to:

  • Avoid meals that make the symptoms worse.

  • Consume high-fibre foods.

  • Drink a lot of water.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Get enough rest.

Various medications have been approved for certain people with IBS, like Alosetron, Eluxadoline, Lubiprostone, and Lubiprostone.


Consistent upper or lower stomach pain, cramping, and changes in stool consistency are all common IBS symptoms. Women are more likely to experience constipation, while men are more likely to experience diarrhoea. However, some people may experience both. Feeling excessively full, flatulence (gas), or mucous discharge are all indicators of IBS. IBS is not a life-threatening condition. The majority of people can manage even without treatment. However, for other people, the symptoms are so severe that they have a considerable impact on their daily lives and have become a serious concern. IBS has no known cure. However, many medications and a variety of treatments are available to alleviate the symptoms.

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FAQs on IBS Symptoms - Important Concepts with Causes and Cure for NEET

1. How are the symptoms of IBS triggered?

IBS symptoms can be brought on by:

  • The significance of food allergy or intolerance in IBS isn't well known. IBS is rarely caused by a real food allergy. Many people, however, experience worsening IBS symptoms after eating or drinking certain foods or beverages, such as wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk, and carbonated beverages.

  • During times of increased stress, most people with IBS report severe or more frequent signs and symptoms. Stress, on the other hand, may increase symptoms but does not cause them.

2. What is an alimentary canal?

The alimentary canal is most commonly understood to be the route that food takes into our bodies before being expelled through the genitourinary system once it has been digested. It is a structure that resembles a tube and extends from the mouth to the anus, where it terminates. The digestive tract is another name for the human alimentary canal, which plays an important part in digestion and is also known as the digestive system. Any disturbance in the alimentary canal can result in difficulties in digestion. 

3. How can diet help in alleviating symptoms of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients who have constipation may benefit from fibre since it makes stools more fluid and easier to pass. If a person wants to test if the IBS symptoms have improved, the doctor may suggest cutting out foods that contain gluten, which is a protein that may be found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye.

The vast majority of cereals, grains, pasta, and many processed foods are examples of foods that contain gluten. The physician could suggest giving a certain diet, one that is known as the low FODMAP diet, to minimise or eliminate the consumption of specific foods that contain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. The acronym FODMAP refers to certain types of carbohydrates.