There are a number of common gastrointestinal conditions, disorders and diseases that may cause problems. These include:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal syndrome characterised by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of any organic cause. It is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition. The prevalence of IBS varies between 10 to 15%. IBS affects men and women, young patients and the elderly. However, younger patients and women are more likely to be diagnosed with IBS.
Abdominal pain in IBS is usually described as a crampy sensation with variable intensity and periodic exacerbations. The location and character of the pain may vary widely. The severity of the pain can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. Several factors, such as emotional stress and eating, may exacerbate the pain, while defecation often provides some relief. Patients with IBS complain of altered bowel habit, ranging from diarrhoea, constipation, alternating diarrhoea and constipation, or normal bowel habits alternating with either diarrhoea and/or constipation. Abdominal pain in IBS should not be associated with weight loss, rectal bleeding or anaemia and should not be nocturnal or progressive.
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