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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

About Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Author| Ben Bobrow, MD

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal conditions. IBS has been described from a variety of different perspectives—from a strict GI problem (medical model) to a more multifaceted disorder of the "brain-gut axis" (biopsychosocial model).

Significant factors that impact IBS include stressful life events, especially those repeated over time which can elicit a conditioned response. Sometimes automatic negative thoughts (frustrations, anger, and sadness) occur and generate symptoms without a person even being aware.

IBS treatments have evolved from focusing either on the body or the mind—to now focusing on both. Many people have found that treatments involving interactions between body and mind to be the most effective and most powerful treatment strategies for IBS. Various non-drug treatment regimens have been used for IBS, including cognitive behavioral therapy, stress management, and mindfulness meditation.

Read more about the experience of IBS from The Atlantic.


References

  1. Irritable bowel syndrome: Is it “irritable brain” or “irritable bowel”? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4692018/