Other Digestive Disorders Associated With IBS

The term “functional bowel disorders” means functional gastrointestinal disorders with symptoms due to changes in the middle or lower gastrointestinal tract. These disorders may include IBS, functional bloating, functional constipation, functional diarrhea, and unspecified bowel disorder. The symptoms must have occurred for the first time at least 6 months prior and be present on at least 3 days a month during the last 3 months.1 People may experience one or a combination of these disorders. It’s believed that these disorders may be caused by similar factors.2

Functional bloating

Functional bloating is a recurrent feeling that the abdominal area is expanding or stretching. The expansion may not be measurable and is not part of another functional bowel or gastrointestinal disorder. Functional bloating is about twice as common in women as men. For women, it is often associated with menstruation. Symptoms are typically worse following a meal and improve or disappear overnight. Treatments are aimed at reducing gas in the gut. People may find that bloating will decrease if an associated gastrointestinal disorder, such as IBS, is improved.1

Functional constipation

Functional constipation is persistently difficult, infrequent, or seemingly incomplete bowel movements. Constipation occurs in about 27% of people, affects all ages, and is most common in women. Initial treatment generally includes dietary changes. Pharmacologic therapy may be used after general and dietary changes were ineffective.1

Functional diarrhea

Functional diarrhea is a recurrent syndrome that includes the passage of loose or watery stools without abdominal pain or discomfort. Unspecified diarrhea was reported by less than 5% of people throughout the U.S. Treatment may include restricting foods that trigger symptoms.1

Unspecified functional bowel disorder

Unspecified functional bowel disorder typically includes bowel symptoms that do not fall under the descriptions of functional bloating, functional constipation, or functional diarrhea.1

Functional dyspepsia, heartburn, and reflux

Functional dyspepsia, or indigestion, is defined as recurrent upper gastrointestinal symptoms that occur predominantly as pain or discomfort localized in the upper abdomen below the rib cage. Functional dyspepsia is a very common disorder and is prevalent in 12% to 29% of people worldwide. The disorder may coexist with psychosocial factors, which may contribute to the development or exacerbation of symptoms. Anxiety disorders or depression existed in about 29% and 30% of patients with functional dyspepsia, respectively.2 Along with dyspepsia, some people have functional heartburn.3 Similarly, the prevalence of acid reflux symptoms in people with IBS is four times higher than in people without IBS.4

Written by: Truc Thanh | Last reviewed: June 2016.
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