What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

You just got diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, but what is this? 

It will seem like you don’t really have a diagnosis at all. Or perhaps you will be confused because the doctor could not find anything wrong with you.

Welcome to the 1 in 10 club! 

In this post, I will answer the questions “what is irritable bowel syndrome?”

I will use scientific facts to bring clarity to your diagnosis so that you can understand your condition and know what to do going forward.

what is irritable bowel syndrome?

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

What kind of condition has no test, no cure and no known cause? No wonder you are confused!

You will be thinking “this is a wrong diagnosis” or perhaps “my doctor needs to do more investigations.”

IBS is known as a functional bowel disorder.

Unlike a ‘disease,’ IBS is a syndrome. This means you will need to have a specific set of symptoms to meet the criteria (1 ).

PCOS is another ‘syndrome’ rather than a disease. This condition also requires you to have a collection of certain symptoms.

It may help you to know that IBS symptoms are well defined by something called the ROME criteria. 

IBS Criteria

You must be experiencing abdominal pain at least 1 day a week for the past 3 months (2 ).

This abdominal pain will be related to at least 2 of the following;

  • Opening your bowels
  • A change in stool frequency
  • A change in stool appearance

How is IBS Diagnosed?

You may be struggling to understand what IBS is because there is no test for it.

Despite this, you will still need testing to make sure you do not have another condition. IBS symptoms are similar to inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease and infection.

To diagnose you with IBS, your doctor will run a series of blood tests and potentially stools tests. If these come back negative then you have IBS.

You can find out more about IBS diagnosis by clicking here.

Can IBS Lead To More Serious Conditions?

It is important for you to understand what irritable bowel syndrome is. Otherwise, you may panic by comparing it to conditions like IBD and coeliac disease.

Click here to find out the difference between IBS and IBD

Unlike these conditions, IBS is not linked to nutritional deficiencies or cancer.

But, IBS is linked to some mental health conditions (3 ).

Can Irritable Bowel Syndrome Be Cured?

If you ever see a product or person claiming to cure your IBS, please run a mile!

As nice as this sounds, it is sadly not true.

BUT – you can manage your IBS by;

  • reducing gut sensitivity 
  • Improving gut bacteria levels
  • Pin-pointing your triggers

If you want to find out how to do this then please sign up to my FREE TRAINING – click here.


When you get diagnosed with IBS you will be wondering “what is irritable bowel syndrome?” 

Your IBS will have been diagnosed as you have specific symptoms and tested negative to other conditions.

IBS is extremely common and has been linked to poor mental health.

SIGN UP TO MY FREE IBS WEBINAR: “How to gain symptom control without a restrictive diet”

The post What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome? appeared first on THE IBS DIETITIAN .

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