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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Also indexed as:IBS, Mucous Colitis, Spastic Colon, Premenstrual IBS
IBS--not your typical tummy ache. Symptoms may include abdominal bloating and soreness, gas, alternating diarrhea and constipation, backaches, and fatigue. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Main Image

About This Condition

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that sometimes causes significant discomfort even though it is not a serious health threat.

The cause of IBS remains unknown. IBS is not related to inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms include abdominal bloating and soreness, gas, and alternating diarrhea and constipation. People with IBS are more likely than others to have backaches, fatigue, and several other seemingly unrelated problems.

Holistic Options

IBS sufferers have increased sensitivity to rectal pain that has been linked to psychological factors.1 Stress is known to increase symptoms of IBS.2 Reducing stress or practicing stress management skills have been reported to be beneficial. In one trial, psychotherapy and relaxation combined with conventional treatment were more effective than conventional treatment alone in two-thirds of people with IBS.3Hypnosis for relaxation has dramatically and consistently relieved symptoms of IBS in some people.4, 5, 6

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which uses acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapies, has been reported to be helpful in the treatment of IBS,7 although no formal research has evaluated this claim.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.