Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),  also known as spastic colon, intestinal neurosis, and nervous indigestion, refers to a disorder of the lower intestinal tract that leads to abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements.

The cause of IBS is not known, but it can occur after an intestinal infection (post-infectious IBS). IBS symptoms may be worse in patients who also have stress or mood disorders, such as anxiety, and depression; however, these conditions do not cause IBS.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a gastroenterology specialist, please call our scheduling line.

Phone: 202-444-8541

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms

  • Abdominal distention
  • Abdominal fullness, gas, bloating
  • Abdominal pain that
    • comes and goes
    • is reduced or goes away after a bowel movement
    • occurs after meals
  • Chronic and frequent constipation, usually accompanied by pain
  • Chronic and frequent diarrhea, usually accompanied by pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite

Your symptoms could be related to Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD).  

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Treatments

In some cases of IBS, lifestyle changes can be helpful:

  • Regular exercise
  • Improved sleep habits
  • Dietary changes

Other possible treatments may include:

  • Counseling in cases of severe anxiety or depression
  • Anti-diarrheal medications for those whose main symptom is diarrhea
  • Low-dose antidepressants to help relieve intestinal pain
  • Medications to stimulate bowel movements for those with constipation


Get answers to commonly asked questions about the Gastroenterology department at MedStar Georgetown.