Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as mucous colitis or spastic colon, is a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. Put simply, that means that your bowels behave abnormally without evidence of damage from the disease. IBS affects 10 to 15 percent of adults in the U.S. and can significantly compromise their quality of life.
What Causes IBS?
Many health experts are still puzzled by IBS and what causes the disorder. When examined, the bowels of those with IBS don’t display any noticeable irregularities. There is evidence that stress, anxiety, a poor diet, and carbohydrate malabsorption can all contribute to the disorder.
For some people, IBS begins with an infection. Bacterial gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the GI tract that occurs when bacteria cause an infection in your gut. Research has found that somewhere between 3 and 36 percent of these infections lead to long-term IBS symptoms. However, there are many people with IBS who have never had bacterial gastroenteritis, so there must be other causes.