Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic abdomen problem that affects roughly 15 percent of the United States population and 25 percent of people worldwide. Characterized by pain and non-healthy bowel movements, you usually need to see a specialist in order to get treatment. Here's what you need to know about this illness.

What Exactly Is It?

IBS is a dysfunction of the intestinal nerves' connection to the brain. Often something causes a problem with the central nervous system, sending mixed messages through your body.

Symptoms

IBS usually presents itself with the symptoms of chronic pain in the abdomen area, constipation, and diarrhea which may be accompanied by heartburn, the feelings of fullness, nausea, bloating, urgently needing a restroom, sleep problems, sexual problems, lower back pain, and headaches. These continuous issues may cause problems socially, physically, and mentally for the people it affects.

What Symptoms Are NOT Related?

If you have any of the following symptoms along with anything listed above, you may be able to rule out irritable bowel syndrome as your problem. These symptoms are bloody stools, anemia, fever, or unexplained weight loss. These symptoms should prompt you to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible.

Who Is Affected by IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome affects mostly young people under the age of 50. However, it is seen in people of all ages.

What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The causes are still undetermined. Scientists have figured out that although stress does not cause it directly, it can dramatically increase symptoms.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Many patients diagnosed with IBS, about 2,000 of them, reported officially being diagnosed nearly seven years after their problems began. Because of the social stigmas associated with mentioning bowels or anything similar in public or to strangers, many people who experience these problems never seek treatment. The best place to find treatment is a gastroenterologist, who specializes in gastrointestinal problems. A variety of tests and cultures will be performed to rule out any other issues before it is officially diagnosed. Do not feel shy about visiting a clinic; between 20-40 percent of all appointments at gastroenterologists are related to irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

You should not feel as badly as you do. Your stomach should not be constantly upset, and you definitely should not be in pain when trying to use the restroom. There's no reason to be embarrassed about your condition. You will not be the first person with this problem and doctors have seen many patients with the same symptoms.