Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is characterized by abdominal pain/discomfort/bloating that is associated with either constipation, diarrhea or alternating constipation and diarrhoea. IBS symptoms are chronic and bothersome, and they have a profound negative impact on quality of life, often associated with disturbed sleep, anxiety and depression.
Patients often present with meal-related symptoms like upper or lower abdominal pain and bowel urgency. Symptoms may improve by passing stool or flatus, but may be triggered or exaggerated by emotional stress or food. 1 in 5 Singaporean suffer from IBS with higher prevalence in younger population.
IBS is a multifactorial disease where a variable combination of genetic, hypersensitivity, gut microbiota and immunology as well as brain-gut interaction may contribute to its pathophysiology.