Irritable Bowel Syndrome, commonly known as IBS, affects the lower portion of your digestive tract, comprising the tail end of your small intestine and your large intestine.

It often manifests as excessive contractions and sensitivities to particular types of food and stress. This condition is typically accompanied by stomach cramps and alternating patterns of bowel movements such as diarrhoea and constipation. Symptoms usually fluctuate over time.

Causes of IBS

The exact root cause of IBS remains unclear. However, medical experts suspect that the condition might be related to disorders within the digestive tract or to an overly sensitive nervous system connected to the digestive tract. Known triggers include specific types of food like spicy dishes, tea, and coffee, as well as emotional stress.


The primary symptoms of IBS include:

  • Episodic cramping lasting more than six months
  • Altered bowel movements, categorised as either:
    • Diarrhoea
    • Constipation
    • Alternating between diarrhoea and constipation

Note: Consult a healthcare professional if you experience severe symptoms such as passing stools with mucus or blood, unexplained weight loss, vomiting, pallor, increasingly narrow stools, or a sensation of incomplete bowel emptying.

Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Should you experience symptoms indicative of IBS, consult a doctor for a thorough diagnosis. The diagnosis process involves collecting your medical history, an examination of detailed symptoms, and possibly a physical check-up. Lab tests like blood tests or stool tests may also be needed for a comprehensive diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Given that the root cause of IBS is yet to be identified, treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms. Treatment options include:

  • Laxatives
  • Medication to ease intestinal contractions
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication

It's crucial to remember that these treatments only manage the symptoms and do not address the underlying cause, which means symptoms may recur.

Lifestyle Changes for Managing IBS

Lifestyle modification is another crucial part of managing IBS symptoms effectively. These changes include:

  • Timely and balanced meals
  • Lowering fat intake and increasing fibre-rich foods
  • Drinking ample water
  • Stress and anxiety management
  • Regular exercise
  • Adequate rest
  • Responding promptly to the urge to use the toilet