Symptoms of IBS

The main symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) include the following:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping.
  • A bloated feeling.
  • Gas (flatulence).
  • Darrhea, constipation, or a combination of both. In fact, people with IBS may also experience alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Some people with IBS report having both constipation and diarrhea in the same day. Diarrhea often occurs after eating or first thing in the morning.
  • A sense of incomplete bowel movement.
  • Mucus in the stool.

In addition, other symptoms of IBS can include nausea, headaches, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.

For most people, the signs and symptoms of IBS are mild, and many people don’t even realize that they are suffering from this condition. Fewer than half of the people suffering from IBS seek medical advice. Only a small percentage of people have severe signs and symptoms. During times when the symptoms are severe, IBS can cause a lot of pain and be quite disabling. IBS symptoms can range in severity from an occasional mild episode to a debilitating, life altering illness, which prevents the individual from working or from functioning normally.

The signs and symptoms of IBS can vary widely from person to person. The symptoms may also be quite intermittent, meaning that they may come and go, causing a lot of discomfort and pain at some times, and conversely relatively little discomfort and pain at other times. Sometimes people find that their symptoms subside for a few weeks or months and then return, while others report a gradual worsening of their symptoms over time.

In some cases, people may have severe signs and symptoms that respond well to medical treatment, while other people’s symptoms may not respond at all well to medical treatment.

Because IBS-like symptoms can be caused by other diseases, including a range of potentially serious and life-threatening diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis, Colorectal Cancers and Crohn’s Disease, it is best to discuss any possible IBS-like symptoms with your doctor as soon as possible.

Your doctor may be able to help you find ways to relieve symptoms as well as either begin treatment or rule out other more serious colon conditions. Your doctor can also help you avoid possible complications from problems, such as chronic diarrhea.

If you have a persistent change in bowel habits or if you have any symptoms of IBS, then seek medical advice.

Please Note: Bleeding, weight loss, fever, and constant acute pain are not symptoms of IBS and may indicate the presence of other problems or health issues, such as inflammation, or more rarely, cancer. As always, if you are at all concerned about your medical condition, consult a doctor.

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