toilet paper
Irritable bowel syndrome: All you need to know about the condition. [Representational Image]Creative Commons

The month of April was designated as the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) awareness month in 1997 by International Foundation of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. The IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine.


The sign and symptoms of the chronic condition may vary but they mainly include cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, gas, mucus in the stool, diarrhea or constipation, or both. The symptoms can trigger due to stress, hormones or certain types of foods, according to Mayo Clinic.

When to visit a doctor?

One needs to visit a doctor after a persistent change in bowel habits, and when more severe signs and symptoms are visible such as weight loss, rectal bleeding, vomiting, anemia, and difficulty in swallowing.


The exact cause of IBS isn't known but the factors that appear to play a role include, muscle contractions in the intestine, inflammation in the intestines, due to some severe infection and changes in bacteria in the gut (microflora).

Risk factors

You're more like to have the syndrome if you're under the age 50, female (in the United States, IBS is more common among women), family history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are associated with IBS.


Treatment of IBS mainly focuses on relieving the symptoms so that the person can live as normally as possible. Mild signs and symptoms are often controlled by managing stress, little changes in diet and lifestyle such as avoiding foods that trigger the symptoms, eat high-fiber foods, drinking plenty of fluids, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.

A dietitian may help in changing the diet changes, and the doctor might suggest medications if the symptoms are severe.