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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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Cause

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) isn't known. But health experts believe that faulty communication between the brain and the intestinal tract is one cause of symptoms. In some people, this miscommunication causes abnormal muscle contractions or spasms, which often cause cramping pain. The spasms may speed the passage of stool, causing diarrhea. Or they may slow it down, causing constipation or bloating.

Many people who have IBS seem to have unusually sensitive intestines. It isn't known why their intestines are more likely to react strongly to the elements that contribute to IBS. People who have IBS may start having symptoms because of one or more factors, including:

Recommended Related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Good Foods for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) With Constipation

If you have IBS with constipation you probably already know how important fiber-rich foods are for your comfort. Making the American Dietetic Association's recommendation to eat 25 grams of fiber a day for women and 38 grams for men your mealtime mantra is a great place to start. But in order for a high-fiber eating plan to work its magic, you have to do three things: Gradually increase the fiber in your diet to your target amount Reach the higher-fiber target almost every day. Spread...

Read the Good Foods for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) With Constipation article > >

  • Eating (though no particular foods have been linked with IBS).
  • Stress and psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Hormonal changes, such as during the menstrual cycle.
  • Some medicines, such as antibiotics.
  • An infection in the digestive tract, such as salmonella.
  • Genetics. IBS may be more likely to occur in people who have a family history of the disorder.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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