Spastic colon; Irritable colon; Mucous colitis; Spastic colitis
Symptoms range from mild to severe. Most people have mild symptoms. Symptoms are different from person to person.
The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating that have been present for at least 3 days a month for the last 3 months. The pain and other symptoms will often:
People with IBS may switch between constipation and diarrhea, or mostly have one or the other.
For some people, the symptoms may get worse for a few weeks or a month, and then decrease for a while. For other people, symptoms are present most of the time.
People with IBS may also lose their appetite.
Most of the time, your doctor can diagnose IBS based on your symptoms, with few or no tests. Eating a lactose-free diet for 2 weeks may help the doctor check for a possible lactase deficiency.
There is no test to diagnose IBS. Tests may be done to rule out other problems:
Some patients will have colonoscopy. During this test, a flexible tube is inserted through the anus to examine the colon. You may need this test if:
Other disorders that can cause similar symptoms include:
Irritable bowel syndrome. NIH Publication No. 07-693. September 2007. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).
Talley NJ. Irritable bowel syndrome. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 118.
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