Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms—including abdominal pain and changes in the pattern of bowel movements without any evidence of underlying damage. About 10 to 15% of people in the developed world are believed to be affected by IBS.
This is a chronic disorder which can last for years or lifelong. It cannot be cured but symptoms and quality of life can be improved with medications.
It has four main types depending on the accompanying aspects –
IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion meaning that it is diagnosed only when other possible causes of similar symptoms has been ruled out, keeping in mind that all diseases cannot be ruled out definitely with the available tests especially in early stages. Many patients who are initially thought to have IBS later develop new symptoms and are found to have some other life threatening disease. It should also be noted that one disease does not give immunity to other diseases, so patient may have developed other diseases in due course. But before a diagnosis of IBS is made basic investigations should be done as required to rule out common diseases as far as possible.
IBS is not life threatening, but can affect your quality of life:
Per se IBS is never a life threatening disease and its main disadvantage is impaired quality of life which may be substantial in certain people. This is not to make afraid but people should relax knowing that it is harmless and symptoms depends upon how the individual handles the situation. Disorders such as anxiety, major depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome, are common among people with IBS and these coexistent conditions decide the reaction of the individual.
IBS and associated treatment:
Treatments depends upon the subtype.