What are the symptoms of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome usually begins in young adulthood. Interestingly, women are more often diagnosed with IBS than men.1

Patients with IBS suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps: Abdominal pain typically varies in intensity. Some people notice that emotional stress and eating worsen the pain5, 6, and that having a bowel movement relieves the pain. In women, the abdominal pain may be associated with the menstrual cycle.1
  • Diarrhea or constipation or both: Altered bowel habits are a second symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. This can include diarrhea, constipation, or alternating diarrhea and constipation. If diarrhea is more common, the condition is called diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome; if constipation is more common, the condition is called constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Bowel movements usually occur during the daytime, and most often in the morning or after meals7. Diarrhea is often preceded by a sense of urgency and followed by a feeling of incomplete emptying. In 50% of IBS patients, also mucus discharge with diarrhea may occur8.  Diarrhea during nighttime is untypical 7.The constipation of irritable bowel syndrome can be intermittent and last for days. Stools are often hard and pellet-shaped. You may not feel empty after a bowel movement, even when the rectum is empty. This faulty sensation can lead to straining and sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods of time.1
  • Other symptoms include bloating, gas (occasionally with burping or farting), feeling full too quickly when eating, and nausea.1


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