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Q.

What are the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS?

Related Topics: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Medical Reference
A.

An expert panel has outlined a list of symptoms common in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Doctors often use this list of symptoms, known as the Rome III criteria, to distinguish IBS from other intestinal problems. However, people who don't have all of these symptoms may still have IBS.

You meet the Rome III criteria for IBS if your symptoms began at least 6 months ago, you have had abdominal pain or discomfort at least 3 days each month in the last 3 months, and at least two of the following statements are true:1

  • The pain is relieved by having a bowel movement.
  • The pain is linked to a change in how often you have a bowel movement.
  • The pain is linked to a change in the appearance or consistency of your stool.

The presence of any of the following symptoms supports a diagnosis of IBS.

Bowel movement patterns

When you have IBS, your pattern of bowel movements may be different over time. Two or more of the following may happen:

  • Bowel movements may occur either more often (diarrhea) or less often (constipation) than usual, such as having more than 3 bowel movements a day or less than 3 a week.
  • Bowel movements may differ in size or consistency (may be hard and pelletlike, pencil-thin, or loose and watery).
  • The way stools pass changes. You may strain, feel an urgent need to have a bowel movement, or feel that you haven't completely passed a stool.
  • You may have bloating or a feeling of gas in the intestines.

Other intestinal symptoms

Some people may have lower abdominal pain with constipation that is sometimes followed by diarrhea. Other people have pain and mild constipation but no diarrhea.

Symptoms that are sometimes present include intestinal gas and passage of mucus in stools.

Nongastrointestinal symptoms

You may sometimes have other symptoms that don't affect the intestines, such as:

  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth.
  • Backache.
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia) not caused by symptoms of IBS.
  • Sexual problems, such as pain during sex or reduced sexual desire.
  • Heart palpitations (feeling like the heart skips a beat or is fluttering).
  • Urinary symptoms (frequent or urgent need to urinate, trouble starting the urine stream, trouble emptying the bladder).

Symptoms often occur after a meal, during stressful times, or during menstruation.

There are many other conditions with symptoms similar to IBS.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Answers from Contributors (3)

1 Answer
82 Helpful Votes
A.

There are many symptoms for IBS which people report regularly. Most often, several symptoms occur simultaneously and are more recently defined primarily as IBS-D (Diarrhea predominant) and IBS-C (Constipation predominant). Those with IBS-D have frequent, loose, watery bowel movements and usually experience an immediate need to pass their stool; this urge may be difficult to control, and "accidents" are common. people with IBS-C have a difficult time with bowel movement and may pass little or no stool at all, even after trying. Painful cramps are usually in the lower half of the abdomen, are often made worse after eating and only relieved after a bowel movement.

The most general symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are as follows:

·        Abdominal pain

·        Abdominal cramping

·        Abdominal discomfort

·        Changes in bowel movements

·        Fullness

·        Gas

·        Bloating

·        Constipation

·        Diarrhea (which can be severe)

·        Constant urge to have a bowel movement

·        Alternating constipation and diarrhea

·        Change in stools (harder, looser, thinner, or softer than usual)

·        Incomplete evacuation

·        Upset stomach

·        Distension of the abdomen (that is visible)

·        Loss of appetite

·        Mucus in the stool


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