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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a chronic condition of the digestive system and is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition. The cause of IBS is not clear and it usually begins in young adulthood .

The most common symptom is abdominal pain associated with a change in bowel habits, diarrhea (diarrhea-predominant IBS) and/or constipation (constipation-predominant IBS). The abdominal pain is typically crampy, varies in intensity and can be worsened by emotional stress and eating and relieved by having a bowel movement. Other symptoms include bloating, gas and belching.

There is no single diagnostic test for IBS. Routine blood tests may be ordered to rule out other diseases and endoscopies may be ordered depending on the age of the patient.

The treatment for IBS usually takes time and it may be necessary to try several treatments to find the one that is most suitable and helpful for the patient. Diet changes can be helpful however commonly medications are prescribed to help ease the symptoms. These medications may belong to the anticholinergic class of medications, the antidepressants, the anti-diarrheal drugs, the anti-anxiety drugs or others.