Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is one of the most common disorders of the bowel. It affects 15% of people in the United States, and is seen more often in women than in men.

IBS is a problem that occurs in the large intestine when food travels too quickly through the intestines, leading to pain and discomfort. It is a chronic, or ongoing, condition.

Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Urge to have a bowel movement even when the colon is empty
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Bloating and gas
  • Mucus in the stool

Symptoms increase with:

  • Stress
  • Fatty, processed or fried foods
  • Menstruation
  • Eating certain trigger foods (dairy, chocolate, wheat)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Caffeinated beverages

Doctors Who Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • General practitioner: The first line of defense in IBS. These doctors deal with prevention, discovery and treatment of illnesses in all age categories.
  • Internist: Focuses on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of adult illness.
  • Gastroenterologist: Doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive system diseases.
  • Psychologist: Specializes in mood and emotional disorders. This therapist offers counseling and alternative therapy like hypnosis and biofeedback to lower stress and lessen the frequency of IBS attacks.
  • Nutritionist/dietician: Creates meal plans to help lessen IBS attacks, which may include removing any foods that the patient may have sensitivity to.