Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder, rather than a disease. It is simply a set of gastrointestinal symptoms under the banner named IBS.

IBS is diagnosed by excluding organic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. Food intolerance and coeliac disease can mimic the symptoms of IBS therefore thorough investigation is suggested.

IBS can be viewed as a dysregulation of the sensitivity and movement of the bowel causing symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Cramping
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Mucus
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Distention of the bowel
  • A feeling of incomplete evacuation

These symptoms are not exclusive to IBS, hence the importance of seeing your GP if any of these symptoms are common for you.

The Rome foundation provides a diagnostic criterion for IBS. The Rome Foundation is a not for profit organisation specialising in the creation of scientific data and educational information to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Rome III Diagnostic criterion for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort at least 3 days a month in the last 3 months associated with two or more of the following:

  1. Improvement with defecation
  2. Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool
  3. Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool

IBS takes a toll on the physical, emotional, social and financial aspects of people living with the condition. With the nature of symptoms it is understandably not high on the list of conversation. However, IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder, affecting 1 in 5 people (20%) of the population so you are definitely not alone.

Download the IBS Recovery Program brochure