Irritable bowel syndrome

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Irritable bowel syndrome (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."[1]

IBS affects 10 to 15 percent of US adults. Only 5-7 percent of US adults have received a diagnosis of IBS.[2]

Four types of IBS[edit | edit source]

Stool consistency dictates the four types.[3]

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

ME/CFS and IBS[edit | edit source]

"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]
The findings show that is a characteristic of a subset of patients with ME/CFS and that increased bacterial translocation (leaky gut) is associated with IBS symptoms. This study has defined a pathway phenotype, i.e bacterial translocation, that is related to ME/CFS and 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 | edit source]

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


What it's Like to Have a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. By Cancer Research UK
What happens during and after a colonoscopy? By You and Colonoscopy
CT (Computed Tomography) Scan: What to expect By UW Medicine
  • 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]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

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.