Welcome to HealingWell!
Here is a summary for you taken from the NDDIC webpage:
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder characterized most commonly by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does not permanently harm the intestines and does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. Most people can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications.
Abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort are the main symptoms of IBS. However, symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people have constipation, which means hard, difficult-to-pass, or infrequent bowel movements. Often these people report straining and cramping when trying to have a bowel movement but cannot eliminate any stool, or they are able to eliminate only a small amount. If they are able to have a bowel movement, there may be mucus in it, which is a fluid that moistens and protect passages in the digestive system. Some people with IBS experience diarrhea, which is frequent, loose, watery, stools. People with diarrhea frequently feel an urgent and uncontrollable need to have a bowel movement. Other people with IBS alternate between constipation and diarrhea. Sometimes people find that their symptoms subside for a few months and then return, while others report a constant worsening of symptoms over time.
Doctors don’t know what causes IBS. They have, however, speculated that it is caused by a disruption in the gut flora. Usually this can happen after a round of intense antibiotics, surgery or food poisoning.
Because docs don't know what causes IBS, it is hard to say the risk factors. Here are some generalizations taken from WebMD:
I hope that helps you.... But, you really should see a doc for a diagnosis.
If not, you can do an internet search for IBS and find a plethora of info.
Post Edited (7Lil) : 1/2/2007 2:15:22 PM (GMT-7)
The problem with self diagnosis is that you could be wrong. Docs can be wrong too, but they usually do a bunch of tests before ruling IBS. You really should see a doc.
BTW - Are you a Harry Potter fan?
Post Edited (floopowder_veritaserum) : 1/3/2007 6:49:08 PM (GMT-7)
Floopowder,The Harry Potter connection is cleary made by your screen name.
BTW - Keri's right... I've got nothing else to add to that.