Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS or spastic colon) is a diagnosis of exclusion. It is a functional bowel disorder characterized by chronicabdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits in the absence of any detectable organic cause. In some cases, the symptoms are relieved by bowel movements. Diarrhea or constipation may predominate, or they may alternate (classified as IBS-D, IBS-Cor IBS-A, respectively). IBS may begin after an infection (post-infectious, IBS-PI), a stressful life event, or onset of maturity without any other medical indicators.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), IBS, acid reflux, Croh's disease and other digestive problems are considered symptoms of deeper root causes. The practitioner needs to diagnose the patient according to TCM techniques to determine whether it is caused by excessive Yang (heat), deficient Ying, and in which of the systems. In general, IBS can be caused by excessive heat in the liver and large intestine systems, but can also involve weakness in the spleen system, excessive heat in the stomach system, and fire in the heart system. The treatments are different depending on the root causes.