Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a disorder in which the bowel does not function properly. Normally the intestine muscles contract and relax in a coordinated rhythm to move food through the digestive system. With IBS, the contractions may be stronger or last longer either forcing food through the system more quickly, which causes gas, bloating, and diarrhea, or slowing the food passage causing constipation.
Irritable bowel syndrome:
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- Does not cause the bowel tissue to become inflamed
- Does not cause the intestines to become permanently harmed
- Is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease