Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the large bowel that is chronic, meaning long-term management will be necessary. IBS is diagnosed based on the symptoms, because unlike inflammatory bowel disease, testing will show no signs of inflammation or ulcers. There are no known causes for IBS.
Treatment for IBS is focused on controlling symptoms so that patients can live a normal life. Drugs can be prescribed to control gas, diarrhea and painful spasms. Patients may also benefit from an antidepressant to cope with depression. Many patients are able to control their IBS symptoms by making changes in their diet by identifying and eliminating foods that trigger symptoms such as gluten, high fat foods and certain carbohydrates. Also many patients benefit from seeing a counselor who can help identify certain situations that trigger IBS symptoms.