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Digestive Disease Information

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Definition and Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms—including pain or discomfort in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movement patterns—that occur together.

Symptoms & Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include pain or discomfort in your abdomen and changes in how often you have bowel movements or how your stools look. Doctors aren’t sure what causes IBS.
Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Your doctor may be able to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) based on a review of your symptoms. Your doctor may not need to do medical tests or may do a limited number of tests.
Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Though irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) doesn’t have a cure, your doctor can manage the symptoms with a combination of diet, medicines, probiotics, and therapies for mental health problems.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Eating smaller meals more often, or eating smaller portions, may help your IBS symptoms. You should avoid foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse.

Clinical Trials for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders.​

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This content is provided as a service of the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). Content produced by the Clearinghouse is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and outside experts.