Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are abdominal pain and spasm, bloating, with constipation or diarrhea or both.

In the excellent pamphlet entitled: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) produced by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders PO Box 17864, Milwaukee, WI 53217 (414-064-1799), it states that:

"The cause of IBS is not completely understood. We do know that IBS have altered patterns of colonic motility (muscle contraction). Symptoms may be the result of increased sensitivity to distension of the gastrointestinal tract by gas or fecal material and a tendency for the bowel to be overly reactive to almost anything: eating, stress, emotional arousal, or gaseous distension. Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome commonly react to these events by developing more pronounced contractions which seem to be responsible for the sensations of bloating, discomfort, and urgency."

Stress and anxiety do not cause IBS but can exacerbate the symptoms, as can triggering foods.

Discuss the following regime with your physician and monitor the effects on your IBS:

  • Keep a chart of what foods trigger your symptoms
  • Reduce stress
  • Learn relaxation techniques
  • Proper rest and exercise
  • Avoid laxatives
  • High fibre diet, but not excessively high in fibre
  • Reduce excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
  • medication

It is important to note that anemia, bleeding, weight loss or fever are not symptoms of IBS and the cause should be thoroughly examined by your physician.

The Toronto IBS Self Help Group meetings are held at Mt. Sinai Hospital, 600 University Avenue. The Leader may also be aware of other IBS Support Groups being formed in Ontario.

Contact: Jeff Roberts Tel: 416-932-3311 email:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) web sites: