The causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are not known or well understood; although a diagnosis can be be made based on a range of symptoms and their duration. These symptoms may include abdominal bloating, pain, gas, constipation diarrhoea or alternating episodes of both. A diagnosis of IBS would be made based on a combination of these symptoms having occurred at least three times a month for the past three months for which there is no other underlying disease. It is a functional disorder of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which affects the way it operates rather than causing actual damage.
It is believed that IBS affects anywhere between 3 to 20 percent of the population, with more than twice as many women as men being affected and people under the age of 45 being most at risk.
There are a number of factors or triggers that are believed to play a role in who is affected by IBS and who is not. One of the main triggers for symptoms of IBS is believed to be stress. This may be dietary stress such as food intolerance or may be related to the environment, emotions or some other form of stress.
It has been noted that poor eating habits including the skipping of meals, low fluid and fibre intake and/or excessive fatty food intake, lactose sensitivity and excessive caffeine and alcohol are known triggers for IBS. It is therefore recommended that IBS sufferers maintain a diary where they record the food and fluid intake and relationship to symptoms they suffer to assist in identifying the role diet and other factors such as stress play in IBS. Susan Reynolds has an interest in Health related subjects To find out how you can get more information and sign up for a Free Newsletter dedicated to treating IBS please visit Natural Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief