Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Overview of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)  is a disorder of the large intestine which causes trouble with bowel movements and habits (going too much or too less often than usual to the restroom). It is also commonly known as irritable colon, IBS colitis spastic colon, and spastic colitis.

IBS usually causes acute constipation or diarrhea, some individuals also experience both at the same time. The severity of IBS varies from person to person.

IBS Meaning in Urdu

یہ بیماری ہاضمہ کے نظام کو متاثر کرتی ہے۔ اس کی وجہ سے پیٹ درد، پیٹ کا اپھار، گیس، اسہال، اور قبض کا سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے۔ یہ بیماری ہر مریض کو ایک لمبے عرصے کے لیے متاثر کرتی ہے، حتی کہ یہ ہفتوں اور مہینوں تک بھی شکار بنا سکتی ہے۔ آئی بی ایس کی وجہ سے سب سے زیادہ نقصان بڑی آنت کو پہنچتا ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ اگر اس بیماری کا بر وقت علاج نہ کیا جائے تو بڑی آنت کے کینسر کے خطرات میں اضافہ ہو جاتا ہے۔

Signs and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The symptoms of IBS are different for different people. However, some of the common signs and symptoms of IBS include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Belly Cramps, especially after having food
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Anxiety
  • A stick-out belly
  • Weight Loss
  • Gas
  • Feeling the urge to poop when you have already
  • Indigestion
  • Changes in bowel movement
  • Heartburn
  • Bloated Stomach or bloating

Some of the severe and more serious IBS Symptoms include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Anemia (Iron Deficiency)
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Diarrhea at night time
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Pain in the belly that doesn't go away even from passing gas out

Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There are three major types of IBS observed.  These are discussed below:

  • IBS-C (Constipation)
  • IBS-D (Diarrhea)
  • IBS-M (mixed) also called IBS-A (alternating)

All three types are explained below.

IBS-C (Constipation)

IBS-C (Constipation) occurs when abdominal discomfort happens due to constipation. There are several changes observed in the bowel movement including, hard stool, non-frequent lump-like stool, the feeling of incomplete bowel movement, and not being able to pass the whole stool. These symptoms come and go and for some people, they disappear after passing stool.

IBS-D (Diarrhea)

The type of IBS that causes diarrhea is called IBS-D. The major symptoms of IBS-D include frequent bowel movements, loose stool, and severe cramping in the belly before going to the restroom. The colon becomes extremely sensitive during IBS-D and this can make the bacteria and viruses attack the intestines more easily.

IBS-M (Mix)

In this type of IBS, an individual can go back and forth between constipation and diarrhea. The cramps felt during IBS-M can be more painful than the other two types. This usually occurs due to gut bacteria, inflammation in the colon, genes, and even due to psychological factors like past trauma and extreme stress.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There is not only one factor that contributes to IBS. But the major ones playing the role include:

  • Nervous System

The lack of coordination between the intestines and the brain can cause the body to experience changes (bloating, gas and diarrhea) that don’t occur normally during digestion. Abnormal nerves of the digestive system cause discomfort that is not felt on normal days while passing out gas and stool.

  • Severe Infection

IBS can develop in the body after a severe episode of diarrhea is caused as a result of a virus or bacteria. The presence of surplus bacteria in the intestines can also result in IBS.

  • Contraction of Muscles in the Intestine

The walls of the intestines contract when the food moves through the digestive tract, this is due to the movement of the muscles present in the lining of the intestine. Contractions in the muscles that are abnormal and stronger can cause bloating, diarrhea, and gas. On the other hand, contractions could be weak too and these can cause hard stools.

  • Changes in the Microbes

Bacterias, viruses, and fungi that already reside in the intestine when going through changes, are said to cause IBS symptoms.

  • Stress

People who undergo a lot of stress in their early lives tend to suffer from IBS later in life and suffer from other gastrointestinal issues.

  • Food Intolerance and Allergies

Food allergies can cause IBS to flare up. Some people with IBS are allergic to certain foods and drinks. These can be dairy products, beans, cabbage, milk, wheat, and carbonated drinks.


Risk Factors of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

An individual is more likely to suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) due to the factors explained below:

Being Young

People younger than the age of 50 are more likely to suffer from IBS.

Family History

Genes play a vital role in causing IBS, if there is any person in family history with IBS, then it is very much likely that children will suffer from IBS too.

Mental Health Issues

A history of mental abuse and physical and emotional damage can add to the risk of suffering from IBS.



Mild symptoms of IBS can be prevented by making the following changes:

  • Drink Plenty of fluids
  • Avoid trigger foods
  • Get needed sleep
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid gluten (barley, wheat, and rye)
  • Consuming high-fiber foods


In order to diagnose IBS, the doctors first perform a physical exam in which the complete medical history of the patient is taken. However, in order to diagnose further tests are performed by medical specialists such as:

CT Scan

During a CT Scan, images of the pelvic region and abdomen are taken in order to find the causes behind the symptoms of the patient.


A medical expert performs a colonoscopy by inserting a flexible tube to examine the colon through a camera.

Stool Test

In order to look for the presence of parasites or bacteria, the stool of the patient is observed in case of chronic IBS by performing a stool test.


Endoscopy is often used by doctors to look for more causes of IBS. In this procedure, a small thin tube is inserted from the mouth to the small intestine to look for possible causes.

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome | When to Consult a Doctor

There are several ways to treat IBS. These are discussed below.


There are a number of medicines that can treat IBS effectively. The most common ones are Xifaxan, Laxatives, and Plencantide. There are other medications also prescribed in order to reduce pain in the abdomen, coated peppermint oil capsules, and antispasmodics are used for the treatment.


Probiotics are now used to treat IBS more than medication. Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria) that are equivalent to the microorganisms present in the digestive tract.

Behavioral Therapies

Medical experts also recommend mental health therapies in order to treat symptoms of IBS like stress, anxiety, and other mental traumas. For this purpose behavioral therapies are mostly recommended like Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Gut-directed Hypnotherapy (use of hypnosis to improve IBS symptoms).

In case of concerning signs and symptoms, you need to visit a certified gastroenterologist