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    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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    Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    What Are the Causes?

    While there are several things known to trigger IBS symptoms, experts don't know what causes the condition.

    Studies suggest that the colon gets hypersensitive, overreacting to mild stimulation. Instead of slow, rhythmic muscle movements, the bowel muscles spasm. That can cause diarrhea or constipation.

    Some think that IBS happens when the muscles in the bowels don't squeeze normally, which affects the movement of stool. But studies don’t seem to back this up.

    Another theory suggests it may involve chemicals made by the body, such as serotonin and gastrin, that control nerve signals between the brain and digestive tract.

    Other researchers are studying to see if certain bacteria in the bowels can lead to the condition

    Because IBS happens in women much more often than in men, some believe hormones may play a role. So far, studies haven’t borne this out.

    How Is It Diagnosed?

    There are no specific lab tests that can diagnose IBS. Your doctor will see if your symptoms match with the definition of IBS, and he may run tests to rule out conditions such as:

    Your doctor may do some of the following tests to decide if you have IBS:

    Tests to look for problems with your bowel muscles

    How Is IBS Treated?

    Nearly all people with IBS can get help, but no single treatment works for everyone. You and your doctor will need to work together to find the right treatment plan to manage your symptoms.

    Many things can trigger IBS symptoms, including certain foods, medicines, the presence of gas or stool, and emotional stress. You’ll need to learn what your triggers are. You may need to make some lifestyle changes and take medication.

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