Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional gastrointestinal disorder where you experience altered bowel habits and abdominal pain. It is a chronic disorder, and manifests itself differently in individuals; with common symptoms being enhanced visceral perception, low-grade inflammation, altered bowel movements, and bacterial overgrowth.

There are 4 subtypes to the disorder:

IBS with constipation (IBS-C)

  • Hard or lumpy stools at least 25 percent of the time
  • Loose or watery stools less than 25 percent of the time

IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)

  • Loose or watery stools at least 25 percent of the time
  • Hard or lumpy stools less than 25 percent of the time

Mixed IBS (IBS-M)

  • Hard or lumpy stools at least 25 percent of the time
  • Loose or watery stools at least 25 percent of the time

Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U)

  • Hard or lumpy stools less than 25 percent of the time
  • Loose or watery stools less than 25 percent of the time

There are several risk factors associated with the disorder – genetics, acute gastrointestinal infections, antibiotic use (leading to bacterial overgrowth, or dysbiosis), and stressful life events. IBS has also been linked to disorders such as depression, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. This is not surprising considering 70% of serotonin is produced in the gut!