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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

Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Diarrhea

People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea often find relief from several types of treatment. Treatment options include dietary changes, medication, stress reduction, behavioral therapy, and alternative therapy. You may need to try just one, or you may need a combination of these approaches to get relief. After all, IBS is a complex syndrome that not only involves problems with bowel movement, but also abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and gas. The goal of treatment...

Read the Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Diarrhea 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 14, 2014
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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