Irritable bowel syndrome: This is a common gastrointestinal disorder marked by chronic or periodic diarrhea, alternating with constipation, and accompanied by straining and abdominal cramps.
Cause: Irritable bowel syndrome is usually associated with psychological stress but may also result from physical factors, such as diverticular disease, ingestion of irritants (such as: coffee, raw fruits or vegetables), lactose intolerance, abuse of laxatives, food poisoning, or colon cancer.
Symptoms alternate with constipation or normal bowel function –
Lower abdominal pain (usually relieved by defecation or passage of gas)
Diarrhea (usually occurring during the day)
Small stools that contain visible mucus
Therapy aims to relieve symptoms :
Strict dietary restrictions are not beneficial, but food irritants should be investigated and should be avoided if possible.
Counseling to help the patient understand the relationship between stress and his illness.
Application of heat to the abdomen can be helpful, and rest.
Doctor may prescribe sedatives and or antispasmodic medication
* Diagnosis must rule out other disorders, such as amebiasis, diverticulitis, colon cancer, and lactose intolerance.