What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Female Doctor and patient using iPad in office

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder

Although IBS affects as much as 20 percent of the population, many cases remain undiagnosed–often because patients believe their symptoms are trivial or due to secondary factors like diet, stress, or anxiety.

For those who ultimately do seek medical help, diagnosing IBS has always been an arduous and expensive diagnosis of exclusion. Patients frequently undergo years of invasive and exploratory tests to rule out organic causes.

But that's all changing. IBSDetex™ can help confirm IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant IBS) or IBS-M (IBS with diarrhea and constipation) in as little as 72 hours from the time the sample is received in our laboratory. This simple non-invasive test can provide answers to millions of IBS patients much quicker thus ending their years of suffering and frustration.


IBS signs and symptoms

  • A common and chronic bowel problem causing mild to severe discomfort
  • Characterized by bloating, gassiness, intermittent abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits
  • Other common symptoms: diarrhea and constipation

IBS and Celiac: Averting a common misdiagnosis

Celiac disease is often difficult to diagnose and easily mistaken for other conditions with gastrointestinal symptoms—notably IBS. Adding to the confusion, some IBS patients may be gluten-intolerant even when no celiac is present.

IBSDetex can help confirm a diagnosis of post-infectious IBS-D or IBS-M. But you should also consider testing for celiac disease and, whatever the results, consider putting your patient on a trial gluten-free diet to see whether symptoms lessen.


Risk factors and complications

While most people experience IBS-like symptoms at some point, certain factors put patients at higher risk of actually having irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Young. Most people with IBS are under 45
  • Female. IBS is twice as common in women as in men
  • Family IBS history. The risk may be tied to genetics, home environment or both

Mental health problem. Risk factors include anxiety, depression, personality disorder, childhood sexual abuse and, for women, domestic abuse has been associated with IBS.

IBS complications

Two of the prominent symptoms of IBS, diarrhea and constipation, can aggravate hemorrhoids. Additionally, patients who try to alleviate IBS symptoms by modifying their diet might become malnourished.

IBS causes significant discomfort and distress, however, there is no known link to:

  • Permanent intestinal harm
  • Intestinal bleeding of the bowel
  • Any serious disease such as cancer

The quality-of-life implications of IBS are often the most troubling. Patients may feel despondent over their symptoms, leading or contributing to feelings of anxiety and acute depression. 

There’s more to learn about IBSDetex

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