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Irritable Bowel SyndromeConditions

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a highly prevalent intestinal disorder that can cause abdominal pain and abnormal and erratic bowel movements. Although IBS symptoms may not be constant, they are persistent and the disorder requires long-term management. IBS is not life-threatening, and in many patients is a minor inconvenience, but in others, it significantly impacts the quality of life.

Two out of every three IBS patients are female. Although IBS can strike at any age, it is most common before age 50, and often develops in the second and third decade of life.


The central symptom of IBS is abdominal pain. Other common symptoms include:

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas and bloating
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mood changes

There is no specific test for IBS. We consider your medical history and physical examination, and we rule out conditions that mimic IBS, such as celiac disease, lactose or other food intolerance, and inflammatory bowel disease. Testing may include blood and stool evaluation and sometimes imaging studies like CT or MRI, as well as endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopy.


Although IBS cannot be “cured,” in most cases we can significantly improve your symptoms and quality of life. Successful treatment may require diligent detective work, careful observation of symptom patterns, and trial and error.

Often, we will work in partnership with allied health professionals such as dietitians, psychologists, or physical therapists. Typically, the most effective approach is multi-pronged — involving diet, lifestyle, and medication treatment.

We individualize IBS treatment based on your symptoms, lifestyle, and needs. We often utilize a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as select supplements that have proven benefits in certain types of IBS. We use drugs in IBS to lessen diarrhea or constipation, decrease painful contractions (spasms), and interrupt aberrant nervous signaling between the gut and the brain.