What is Irritable bowel syndrome?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a chronic and relapsing pathology of the large intestine that encompasses various symptoms such as inflammation and abdominal pain, gas, and changes in the intestinal rhythm (episodes of diarrhea and constipation).

So far the origin of this condition is unknown, but it is known that certain conditions can favor its appearance, such as:

  • Hormonal alterations.
  • Changes in digestive motility, mainly due to psychological factors.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Intestinal muscle spasms that can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, or hard, dry stools.
  • Being exposed to stressful situations.
  • Excess bacteria in the intestines.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Stomach flu.
  • Food intolerances.
  • Irregularities in the digestive system nerves.
  • Anxiety
  • Being a woman and taking estrogen therapy.
  • Being under 50 years old.

Signs and symptoms Irritable bowel syndrome

The symptoms vary, but the following usually appear:

  • Gas increase.
  • Nausea.
  • Changing stools.
  • Cramps, pain, or abdominal swelling related to bowel movements.
  • Altered bowel habits.
  • Mucus in the stool.

Irritable bowel syndrome does not increase the risk of colorectal cancer, but if you have any of these symptoms, it is essential to see your doctor as soon as possible, do not put your health at risk:

  • Vomit.
  • Anemia.
  • Nocturnal diarrheal stools.
  • Continuous colic even expelling gas or having bowel movements.
  • Fever.
  • Decreased body weight.
  • Swallowing problems.
  • Rectal bleeding.

Diagnosis and treatment Irritable bowel syndrome

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination that will include abdominal palpation and will request a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as stool tests, colonoscopy, endoscopy, X-rays, computed tomography, gluten intolerance test, lactose intolerance, and breath test, the latter to determine if you have bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine.

The treatment plan will focus on relieving symptoms and preventing possible complications, which may include:

  • Medicines:
  • Specific to treat this syndrome.
  • Painkillers.
  • Anticholinergics.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Antidiarrheals.
  • Laxatives.
  • Diet changes:
  • High fiber foods or supplements.
  • Do not eat foods that trigger symptoms.
  • Increased fluid intake.
  • Lifestyle adjustments:
  • Exercise daily.
  • Rest and get enough sleep.
  • Eat at set times.

At the ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies, of chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Mendoza LG, Becerra TEC. Síndrome de intestino irritable: un enfoque integral. Aten Fam. 2020;27(3):150-154.
  • Velasco-Benítez CA. El síndrome de intestino irritable como causa de dolor abdominal crónico. Rev Cubana Pediatr. 2019;91(2):1-5.

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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.