Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders

If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are not alone – IBS is common with prevalence estimated at 10% to 15%. Yet many people remain undiagnosed and unaware that their symptoms indicate a medically recognized disorder.

Learn More About Irritable Bowel Syndrome This Month

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that occur together, including repeated pain in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both. With IBS, you have these symptoms without any visible signs of damage or disease in your digestive tract.

The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are pain in your abdomen, often related to your bowel movements, and changes in your bowel movements. These changes may be diarrhea, constipation, or both, depending on what type of IBS you have. Doctors aren’t sure what causes IBS.

Doctors may treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by recommending changes in what you eat and other lifestyle changes, medicines, probiotics, and mental health therapies. You may have to try a few treatments to see what works best for you. Your doctor can help you find the right treatment plan.

Don’t suffer alone or in silence anymore.

learn about irritable bowel syndrome in April

Symptoms and What You Can Do

Symptoms experienced by those who are diagnosed with IBS may include any or all of the following: abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, cramping and constipation. The good news is that IBS does not increase a patient’s risk of colorectal cancer or alter bowel tissue.

To test for IBS, patients may endure a series of procedures to rule out other ailments including:


Blood Tests

These blood tests will check for celiac disease, anemia, tissue damage, inflammation or other abnormalities.


Stool Samples

Your stool will be allow doctors to detect a parasite, blood in the feces, or a bacterial infection that could mimic IBS symptoms.


Verbal Questionnaires

Your primary doctor and/or Behavioral Health Consultants will ask a series questions to detect psychological reasons for the digestive disruptions. Anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions could be a contributing factor for common IBS symptoms.



A Colonoscopy is used to examine the rectum and large bowel via scope. This is a test conducted most often when the patient has rapid weight loss, rectal bleeding, or shows other signs that could indicate more serious issues.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition to Help

Improving your food choices and managing your stress may help or delay the need for medication. Research is ongoing as to how foods digest and contribute to these symptoms, but studies have shown that some carbohydrates can cause irritation to the bowel and trigger IBS symptoms. These carbohydrates are called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-saccharides Di-saccharides Mono-saccharides and Polyols). For some people, a low FODMAP meal plan can help relieve the symptoms.

Before engaging in any changes or starting a low FODMAP diet plan, consult with your gastroenterologist or primary care doctor.

IBS Awareness Month: Facts About IBS

In support of IBS Awareness Month, ALPCO created this short video to share some important facts about IBS and spread the word about this incurable, debilitating disorder.