Irritable bowel syndrome

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 10 to 15 percent of US adults. Only 5-7 percent of US adults have received a diagnosis of IBS.[1]

What is IBS?[edit]

IBS is a group of symptoms that occur together including pain or discomfort in your abdomen along with changes in your bowel movements. Also called a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder; "when your GI tract behaves in an abnormal way without evidence of damage due to a disease."[2]

Four types of IBS[edit]

Stool consistency dictates the four types.[3]

  • IBS with constipation
  • IBS with diarrhea
  • Mixed IBS
  • Unsubtyped IBS

ME/CFS and IBS[edit]

"Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) frequently go together. No one really knows why, but we do know that all three conditions can include imbalances of serotonin -- although in fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) it's an imbalance in the brain, while with IBS it's in the gut."[4]
Conclusion: The findings show that ADS is a characteristic of a subset of patients with ME/CFS and that increased bacterial translocation (leaky gut) is associated with ADS symptoms. This study has defined a pathway phenotype, i.e bacterial translocation, that is related to ME/CFS and ADS/IBS and that may drive systemic inflammatory processes.[5]


  • Katrina Berne reports a prevalence of 50-90% for IBS symptoms (including diarrhea, nausea, gas, and abdominal pain) in ME/CFS patients.[6]

Tests and diagnosis[edit]

Mayo Clinic provides the following information on IBS, Tests and Diagnosis[7]


  • Rome criteria. According to these criteria, you must have certain signs and symptoms before a doctor diagnoses irritable bowel syndrome. The most important are abdominal pain and discomfort lasting at least three days a month in the last three months, associated with two or more of following: improvement with defecation, altered frequency of stool or altered consistency of stool.
  • Manning criteria. These criteria focus on pain relieved by defecation, having incomplete bowel movements, mucus in the stool and changes in stool consistency. The more symptoms present, the greater the likelihood of IBS.
Some red flag signs and symptoms that suggest a need for additional testing include:
  • New onset after age 50
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Nausea or recurrent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain, especially if it's not completely relieved by a bowel movement, or occurs at night
  • Diarrhea that is persistent or awakens you from sleep
  • Anemia related to low iron


  • Additional Tests:
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • X-ray (radiography)
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Lower GI series[8]

Laboratory tests:

  • Lactose intolerance
  • Breath
  • Blood
  • Stool[9]

Learn more[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. How Common is IBS - NIH Health Topics
  2. Definition & Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases - NIH
  3. Definition and Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS - NIH Health Topics
  4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Why Do They Go Together? - Health FMS/ME/CFS
  5. Evidence for the existence of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) with and without abdominal discomfort (irritable bowel) syndrome.- NCBI
  6. Berne, Katrina (1 Dec 1995), Running on Empty: The Complete Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS), 2nd ed., Hunter House, p. 58, ISBN 978-0897931915 
  7. Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Tests and Diagnosis - Mayo Clinic
  8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Tests and Diagnosis - Mayo Clinic
  9. Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Tests and Diagnosis - Mayo Clinic

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history