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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that can cause bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and/or constipation. This condition is common, with experts predicting that it affects up to one in five people at some point in their lives. Although it is often a life-long condition, it can improve over several years.

The cause of IBS is not fully understood; however, it is thought that factors such as increased sensitivity of the gut combined with problems in food digestion and abnormal gut bacteria can play a role in the development of symptoms. These causes may mean that you are more aware of pain coming from your gut and food may pass through your system either too slowly or too quickly, leading to constipation or diarrhoea.

Psychological factors, for example stress, have also been highlighted as playing a role in the development of IBS.

At the Neurogastroenterology Diagnostic Unit we have state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities to study gut sensation and movements and also detect whether there is an increase in unhealthy gut bacteria or intolerance to specific foods. Although there are no cures for IBS, treatments are available that can improve your symptoms and quality of life. This includes identifying the foods that trigger your symptoms in order to reduce these from your diet and also by reducing the amount of stress that you experience or increasing your ways of coping with the stress that you do experience. Medication may also be provided to aid your bowel movements and to reduce pain. By using our diagnostic facilities we can tailor our treatments to best manage our patients' symptoms.