Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a digestive disorder causing abdominal pain, discomfort, and changes in bowel habits. Learn more. IBS is a chronic ailment that requires long-term management. Changes in food, lifestyle, and stress levels can help some people control their symptoms. More severe symptoms can be treated with medication and counselling. IBS is not linked to intestinal tissue alterations or an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms

IBS symptoms vary, but they are usually present for a long time. The most common are:

  • Pain, cramping or bloating in the abdomen
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in the frequency with which you have bowel movements
  • Bloating, increased gas and mucus in the stool
Irritable bowel syndrome overview

When to see a doctor?

If you have a consistent change in bowel movements or other IBS indications or symptoms, see your doctor. These symptoms could also be signs of other more serious conditions like colon cancer. The following are examples of severe signs and symptoms:

  • Loss of weight
  • Diarrhea in the middle of the night
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Anemia due to a lack of iron
  • Vomiting
  • Swallowing problems
  • Consistent pain that isn't alleviated by a bowel movement or passing gas
  • Persistent pain

Get the best treatment for Irritable bowel syndrome from our Gastroenterologists at Medicover Hospitals

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Following are the causes of Irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Contractions of the intestine's musclesThe walls of your intestines are lined with muscle layers that contract as food moves through your digestive tract. Gas, bloating, and diarrhea can be caused by stronger and longer-lasting contractions. Food passage can be slowed by weak intestinal contractions, resulting in firm, dry stools.
  • The nervous systemWhen your abdomen stretches because of gas or stool, irregularities in your digestive system's nerves may cause you to feel more uncomfortable than usual. Your body may overreact to typical digestive process changes due to a lack of coordination between the brain and the intestines, resulting in pain, diarrhea, or colic
  • Infection is severeIBS can arise as a result of a severe bout of diarrhea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus. IBS may also be associated with an over abundance of bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth)
  • Stress in childhoodPeople who have experienced stressful events, especially as children, are more likely to develop IBS symptoms
  • Microbe changes in the gutChanges in bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which normally reside in the intestines and play an important role in health, are examples. According to research, the microbes in people with IBS may differ from those in healthy people.

Triggers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS symptoms can be triggered by:

  • Food Food allergies or intolerance play an unknown role in IBS. It can rarely be caused by food allergies. However, many people experience worse IBS symptoms when they consume certain foods or beverages, such as wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk, and carbonated beverages.
  • AnxietyDuring times of increased stress, most people with IBS experience worsening symptoms or more frequent signs and symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Risk factors

Many people experience IBS symptoms on a regular basis. However, you are more likely to suffer from the syndrome in below scenarios.

  • IBS is more common in people who are under the age of 50
  • IBS is more common in women. Estrogen therapy, either before or after menopause, is another risk factor for IBS
  • Genetic and environmental factors
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems


Chronic constipation or diarrhea can result in hemorrhoids. Furthermore, IBS is linked to:

  • Compromised quality of life Many people who have moderate to severe IBS report having a low quality of life. According to research, people with IBS miss three times as many days of work as those who do not have bowel symptoms.
  • Mood disturbancesExperiencing IBS signs and symptoms can result in depression or anxiety. IBS can also be exacerbated by depression and anxiety.

How is Irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?


Based on your symptoms, your doctor may be able to diagnose IBS. To rule out other possible explanations of your symptoms, they may do one or more of the following tests

  • Examine a sample of your feces
  • Blood tests
  • A colonoscopy
  • Lactose intolerance tests
  • Stool test
  • X-ray or CT scan
  • Upper endoscopy

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be treated with dietary adjustments and other lifestyle changes, as well as medications, probiotics, and mental health therapy. It's possible that you'll have to try a few different therapies to find the one that works best for you. Your doctor can assist you in determining the best course of action.

Lifestyle changes and self-care

IBS can often be relieved by making simple dietary and lifestyle modifications. It will take time for your body to adjust to these changes such as -

  • Experiment with different fibresFiber can help with constipation, but it can also aggravate gas and cramping. Over the course of a few weeks, gradually increase the quantity of fiber in your diet by eating foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Fibre supplements, rather than fibre-rich foods, may induce less gas and bloat.
  • Avoid certain foodsFoods that cause your symptoms should be avoided.
  • Have your meals on timeTo help control bowel function, don't miss meals and try to eat at the same time each day. If you're suffering from diarrhea, you might discover that eating small, frequent meals helps. However, if you're constipated, consuming more high foods may aid in the movement of food through your intestines.
  • Exercise on a regular basisExercise relieves sadness and stress by stimulating normal bowel contractions and making you feel better about yourself. Inquire with your doctor about starting an exercise regimen.

Irritable bowel syndrome Dos and Don’ts

IBS management is all about your food and lifestyle management. There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of when you are suffering from this condition. This is why there is a lot of dos and don’ts around your routine including sleep, diet, and exercise that should be followed to effectively manage this condition while taking the prescribed medicines.

Do’s Don’ts
Eat homemade food Postpone or miss meals
Avoid food that triggers your IBS Consume too much food in a short period of time
Regular exercise Eat greasy, hot, and processed foods
Take probiotics for a month Take alcoholic or carbonated beverages
Take proper rest and enough sleep Take too much of coffee

Follow the above tips to ease your symptoms and manage your condition.

Irritable bowel syndrome Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted team of doctors and medical experts who are experienced in providing excellent healthcare services to the patients. For IBS, we have a team of gastroenterologists, therapists, counselors, and dieticians who design a multidisciplinary approach towards its treatment and symptom management. We make use of advanced medical technology and state-of-the-art facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of Irritable bowel syndrome. Our dedicated team of experts ensure to provide a holistic wellness experience to the patients so that they can have a sustained recovery.

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