- alternating diarrhea and constipation
- stomach pain
- excess gas or wind
You do not need to have all of these symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome to be diagnosed with the disease, but patients will usually have some diarrhea or constipation plus stomach pain. These symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome keep coming back over a period of time, as IBS is a fairly long-term condition, and should not be confused with normal stomach upsets or occasional bouts of constipation.
Generally, patients with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome find that they fit into one of three groups – diarrhea-predominant IBS, constipation-predominant IBS, or alternating diarrhea and constipation.
One of the common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in IBS sufferers is that their stomach pain is relieved when they have a bowel movement. They may find that the consistency or shape of their stool changes, and they may also pass some mucus in the stool.
It is vital that you are properly diagnosed with IBS by a medical professional, as bowel symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be the result of many other health conditions such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases. It is not possible to accurately self-diagnosis IBS and you may put your health at risk if you do so.
In particular, the following symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are not typical of IBS and must be investigated further:
- pain that often awakens/interferes with sleep
- diarrhea that often awakens/interferes with sleep
- blood in your stool
- weight loss
- abnormal physical examination
Most individuals are surprised to learn they are not alone with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects approximately 10-20% of the general population. It is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists (doctors who specialize in medical treatment of disorders of the stomach and intestines) and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians.
Sometimes irritable bowel syndrome is referred to as spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, nervous stomach, or irritable colon.
Irritable bowel syndrome is understood as a multi-faceted disorder. Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome result from what appears to be a disturbance in the interaction between the gut or intestines, the brain, and the autonomic nervous system that alters regulation of bowel motility (motor function) or sensory function.
In symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome abdominal pain or discomfort is associated with a change in bowel pattern, such as loose or more frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, and/or constipation.
Treatment options are available to manage IBS – whether the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are mild, moderate, or severe.