Digestive Disorders — Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional bowel disorder that is characterized by a change in bowel habits with features of disordered defecation and bowel distention in the absence of any demonstrable causes. Chronic or recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms associated with this disorder include stool urgency, abdominal fullness, bloating, diarrhea alternating with constipation, and abdominal cramps that are relieved with defecation.


  • 10-20% of all adults
  • 2:1 female predominance
  • Onset in adolescence, yet most patients present with symptoms between 30-50 years of age

Associated Conditions

  • Psychiatric disorders such as major depression, anxiety, and somatoform disorders occur in the majority of IBS patients
  • Other conditions commonly associated with IBS include Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • 65% have negative reactions to various foods
  • Less frequently occurring conditions that have been associated with IBS include back pain, various gynecological disorders, and interstitial cystitis
  • The incidence of headaches also occurs more frequently in patients who have IBS than in the general population
  • Additionally, patients with IBS often experience urinary dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, and altered sleep patterns.


  • Abnormality in the enteric nervous system
  • Altered gastrointestinal motility and visceral hypersensitivity
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Neurotransmitter imbalance — serotonin, 95% of which is located in the GI tract, exists in increased levels — may cause NN, abdominal pain, bloating

Foods that may have an effect on IBS

  • Some foods that may make IBS better
    • Fruits
      • Apples
      • peaches
    • Vegetables
      • Broccoli, raw
      • Cabbage
      • Carrots, raw
      • peas
    • Breads, cereals, and beans
      • Kidney beans
      • Lima beans
      • Whole-grain bread
      • Whole-grain cereal
    • Some foods that may make IBS worse
      • Fatty foods (E.g., French fries)
      • Milk products (Cheese or Ice cream)
      • Chocolate
      • Alcohol
      • Caffeine