The following is an extract from:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connection
by William B. Salt II, MD
INTRODUCTION TO IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME AND FUNCTIONAL GI DISORDERS
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or one of the other functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, or suspect that you might, then this information can help you. Many people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, the two forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and many with diverticulosis also have irritable bowel syndrome. If you have one of these conditions, then this information is for you as well.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a major public health topic and receives much media attention in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Many people recognize the acronym "IBS" and terms like "spastic colon," "spastic colitis," "mucus colitis," and "nervous stomach." You will be hearing more and more about this common and troublesome condition, as well as about the other functional GI disorders.
WHAT ARE FUNCTIONAL GI DISORDERS?
They are defined as "variable combinations of chronic or recurrent GI symptoms not explained by structural or biochemical abnormalities." This means that even after performing blood tests, taking x-rays, and examining the digestive tract with endoscopes, doctors cannot find a cause. There are 25 of these disorders, and many people have more than one. Symptoms can come from nearly all parts of the GI tract.