Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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By Dr. K. S Somasekhar Rao , Gastroenterology

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the large intestine that is characterized by symptoms of bloating, stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. The condition is usually chronic; however, the symptoms of IBS can be controlled by managing your lifestyle, stress and diet.


The symptoms of IBS are:

  1. Sensation of bloating.
  2. Moderate to severe abdominal cramps.
  3. Symptoms of Diarrhea and Constipation.
  4. Presence of mucus in the stool.
  5. Symptoms of gas.

If the condition is severe, then there can be symptoms such as loss of weight, rectal bleeding and progressive abdominal pain.


IBS is caused when the muscles in the intestine do not work as intended, i.e. the muscle contractions tend to be irregular. IBS can also result from problems in the nervous system, wherein the signals between your intestine and brain go haywire. Usually IBS is triggered by certain factors such as:

  1. Foods: Certain foods such as chocolate, cabbage, broccoli and milk have been known to trigger Irritable bowel syndrome.
  2. Hormones: Hormonal changes are known to cause IBS, women, in their menstrual cycle, tend to experience aggravated symptoms of IBS.
  3. Stress: High stress levels have been known to worsen IBS symptoms.
  4. Other Disorders: Bacterial imbalance in the intestines can lead to irritable bowel syndrome.