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What causes irritable bowel syndrome?

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While there are several things known to trigger irritable bowel syndrome (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.

From: Irritable Bowel Syndrome WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Association. FDA.


Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on March 25, 2018

SOURCES: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Association. FDA.


Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on March 25, 2018

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