The Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder of the bowel. About 10% of the population suffer from it, especially women, and with a higher prevalence rate from 20 to 50 years.

Professor Silvio Danese, head of the Centre for Chronic Inflammatory Diseases of the Intestine of Humanitas, has recently talked about it in an interview, recalling that “for about 15-20% of the Italian population it is the second cause of absence from work, after influenza, and it is in first place for medical aid”.

The most common symptoms

Precisely because it is a ‘syndrome’, recalled Professor Danese, it consists of a “set of symptoms, which can be of different types: for example intestinal irregularities, which may appear both in the form of diarrhea and constipation depending on the patient, swelling and often abdominal pain”.

Intestinal discomfort and disturbances affect the quality of life

Other organs are also affected by intestinal discomfort and disturbances, modifying everyday life and the quality of human life in general. Among the extra-intestinal symptoms often reported by patients there are irritation, difficulty concentrating, migraine fatigue; in addition to these there may be other disorders related to organs close to the intestine, such as the urinary tract.

Chronic discomfort

To identify a disease as chronic – said Professor Danese – disorders and annoyances must occur at least once a week, for at least three consecutive months.

Fake news: irritable bowel syndrome does not increase the risk of cancer

The professor reiterates: irritable bowel and tumors are not connected, “this syndrome is a benign disease, whose progress does not lead as a consequence to the tumor. This is a myth to be debunked”.

The diagnosis

Since it is a syndrome, which also shows different symptoms from person to person, “there is no diagnostic test” to recognize the irritable bowel syndrome,” explained Danese. Rather, for the specialist, the “clinical history of the patient, as well as exams such as blood and laboratory tests, which exclude other diseases, becomes very important.