What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019
  • Author: Mohammad F El-Baba, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is defined as chronic or recurrent abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, and bloating, with the absence of structural or biochemical abnormalities to explain these symptoms. [1] Irritable bowel syndrome is part of a broader group of disorders known as functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. It is the most common GI diagnosis among pediatric gastroenterology practices in the United States [2] and is one of the top 10 reasons for visits to primary care physicians.

Irritable bowel syndrome is recognized in children, and many patients trace the onset of their symptoms to childhood. Children who have a history of recurrent abdominal pain are at increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome during adolescence and young adulthood.

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