Gastro-intestinal symptoms / irritable bowel syndrome IBS

The irritable bowel syndrome (colon irritabile; IBS ) is a functional disorder that isn't caused by underlying physical factors. 

IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion which means it may only be diagnosed after organic factors have been ruled out.

IBS mostly concerns people under the age of 45 and is 2 to 3 times more prevalent in women. 

The general prevalence in western countries is around 10–20 %, the life-time prevalence is higher. 

IBS can be categorized in:

  • IBS with abdominal pain and obstipation or diarrhea 
  • IBS with painless diarrhea 

Lead symptoms of IBS include:

  • Recurring abdominal pain 
  • changes in digestion such as obstipation and diarrhea
  • meteorism (flatulence)

The direct cause of IBS has so far not been identified. 

Science has established however that most patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have a lowered pain threshold within the intestine called hyperalgesia.

Hyperalgesia has been the only underlying factor for which there is scientific evidence in studies. Other factors that are currently being discussed include increased intestinal motor activity, increased gas reflux into the stomach as well as a prolonged passage time of food within the gastro-intestinal systewm.

About a quarter of IBS patients report having had gastroenteritis prior to IBS. 

We are happy to provide information and consultation regarding the diagnostic and therapeutic options for IBS and especially what can be done to prevent this syndrome.