Irritable bowel syndrome has long been considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder. However, recent studies have suggested possible organic causes that can explain the multitude of symptoms in IBS.

Brief History

The irritable bowel syndrome has been thought of as a functional gastrointestinal disorder for many years. As long as three thousand years ago, Hippocrates described a triad of symptoms consisting of abdominal discomfort, irregular bowel movements and bloating. In 1817, William Powell reported a case with similar symptoms as Hippocrates. In 1849, Cumming described a syndrome of irregular bowel habits consisting of alternating diarrhea and constipation.1 In 1928, Bockus and his colleagues described the syndrome as “neurogenic mucous colitis.”2 Bockus determined that this disease can only be diagnosed by exclusion which was the belief until the 1970’s.