Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Did you know almost 3 percent to 20 percent of Americans experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

The condition affects more women than men. People are most likely to get the condition in their late teens to early 40s.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or irritable bowel disease is a common disorder that affects the large intestine.

It causes abdominal bloating, mucous in stools, irregular bowel habits, and alternating diarrhea and constipation.

These tend to come and go over time, and can even last for days, weeks or months at a time.

The syndrome is also known as spastic colon, mucus colitis, and nervous colon.

It is a chronic, or long-term condition, however the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) change over the years.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause president discomfort in stomach, but most people will not experience sever complications.

It is linked to things like food passing through gut too quickly or slowly.

Similarly, this disease is also linked with oversensitive nerves in gut, stress or a family history of IBS.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Like mentioned above, some people face minor signs and symptoms like discomfort in stomach which disappears completely with time.

However, other people with the syndrome experience times when the signs and symptoms are worse.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often gets worsen after eating.

A flare-up may last from 2 to 4 days, and then may either disappear or get worsen.

However, signs and symptoms of the syndrome vary considerably between individuals.

Signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome often resemble with other stomach diseases.

Here, are the most common signs and symptoms:

  • Bloating of the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Excess Gas
  • Mucus in the Stool
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Bad breath
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Irregular period

Symptoms of IBS In Female

Like said earlier, women are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) than men.

Women may tend to have symptoms of IBS around or during the time of menstruation.

However, menopausal women have fewer symptoms of IBS than women having menstruation.

Similarly, women are said to have more symptoms of IBS during their pregnancy than other times.

Symptoms of IBS In Men

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is no different in men than any in the women.

However, there are quite less report of men having IBS and seeking for the treatment.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown, although there are many treatments.

However, some of the factors that appear to play a role in causing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are:

Muscle Contractions in the Intestine

Intestine walls are lined with layers of muscles that contract as they move food through the digestive system.

When the muscle contraction takes place it gets hard to digest the food completely.

Therefore, it causes gas, bloating or diarrhea. Weak intestinal contractions can slow food passage and lead to hard or dry stools.

Usually muscle contraction in the intestine that lasts stronger and for longer period causes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Nervous System

Greater than normal discomfort might occur when there is abnormalities in the nerves of digestive system.

When the abdomen stretches from gas or stool, it can likely cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Additionally, poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestine can cause your body to overreact to changes.

Hence, this might result in pain, diarrhea or constipation and cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Inflammation in the Intestine

Some people having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are often seem to have an increased number of immune-system cells in their intestines.

As a result, the increased immune system response gets associated with pain and diarrhea.

Server Infection

When a person suffers from excessive diarrhea caused by bacteria or a virus, he or she is more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Similarly, IBS also might be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines.

Triggers of IBS


The role of food allergy in causing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not fully understood by many.

It is said that food allergy rarely causes irritable bowel sundrome (IBS).

However, many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages.

For instance, eating dairy products, wheat, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk and carbonated drinks are more likely to cause IBS for people having weak stoomach.


Stress is also considered as a major trigger of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Most people with IBS experience worse or more frequent signs and symptoms when they take more stress.

However, while stree only increase irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), doesn’t cause them


Like said earlier, women are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) than men.

This indicates that hormonal changes plays a significant role in causing IBS.

That’s why many women find the signs and symptoms worse during their menstutration.

Complications of IBS

Poor Quality of Life

It is often found that many people with the syndrome have poor quality of life.

Due to frequent pain in their stomach, people are more likely to skip most delicious foods.

Also, research indicates that people with IBS miss three times as many days from work as do those without bowel symptoms.

Mood Disorders

Experiencing more frequent signs and symptoms of the syndrome can lead to anxiety or depression.

People having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have to be more conscious on their daily activities.

For instance, they need to be conscious about eating right food, having diarrhea while working or partying, and many more.

Hence, this is more likely to cause frequent changes in their mood and cause mood disorder.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Diet

Managing your diet while having the syndrome might take extra effort.

Hence, modifying amounts or eliminating certain foods such as dairy, fried foods, indigestible sugars, and beans might reduce the symptoms.

Additionally, for some people, adding spices and herbs such as ginger, peppermint, and chamomile can help reduce the symptoms as well.


Some people with the syndrome need to increase their fiber intake.

However, who don’t have the syndrome should consumer food containing fiber in minimal amount.

A proper balanced level of fiber in the diet can help in promoting healthy digestion.


Probiotics is another diet that people having the syndrome should consume.

Some probiotics people having IBS should consume are: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and many more.

The benefits of probiotics take about 4 weeks to appear in the body.

Foods to Avoid During IBS

Symptoms of IBS are often worse after consuming certain foods such as chocolate, milk, or alcohol.

Consumption of these types of food might cause severe diarrhea or constipation.

Similarly, some fruits, vegetables, and sodas can trigger bloating and discomfort.

Hence, here are some of the food you need to avoid if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):

  • food that causes flatulence, such as beans, celery, onions, carrots, brussel sprouts, and bagels
  • dairy products
  • sugar-free gum
  • candies
  • products with caffeine

Treatment of IBS

As the causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are uncertain, treatment are likely to be certain.

The treatment of IBS usually involves some dietary, lifestyle changes, and managing stress.

Some of the treatments or home remedies includes:

  • Participating in regular physical exercise
  • Cutting back on caffeinated beverages
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Minimizing stress
  • Consuming more oat-based foods to reduce gas or bloating
  • Not skipping meals and eating at the same time every day
  • Eating slowly
  • Limiting intake of certain fruits and vegetables
  • Limiting tea and coffee intake to three cups per day
  • Drinking enough fluids, at least eight cups per day
  • Avoiding deep-fried or spicy foods