The Many Symptoms of IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects millions of people worldwide. This disorder causes abdominal discomfort and disrupted bowels. Symptoms of IBS can vary wildly from patient to patient, but most people who have IBS have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Pain in the lower stomach.
  • Excess gas.
  • Bloating or abdominal distension.
  • Changes in the patterns of bowel movements.
  • Mucus appearing in stools.

These symptoms tend to follow specific patterns and occur very regularly among IBS sufferers.

Women are more likely than men to suffer from IBS, and IBS symptoms in women can be very different from IBS symptoms in men. Differences in symptoms include:

  • Women are more likely to have a distended or swollen abdomen.
  • GI symptoms can alter wildly for women during their menstrual cycle.
  • The guts of men seem to be less sensitive than women’s.

Since IBS symptoms for men and women can be somewhat different, men are sometimes likely to be misdiagnosed because they do not have common IBS symptoms.

Usually, people with IBS have stomach pain at least 3 days of each month, and the pain is linked to changes in their stool. The belly pain is normally relieved by a bowel movement, which may be atypical. IBS and constipation are often linked, but other changes in bowel movements may include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Watery stool.
  • Unusually hard or lumpy stool.
  • Unusually small bowel movements.

These symptoms of an IBS attack can appear somewhat contradictory at times, and many patients report that they suffer from attacks of alternating diarrhea and constipation.

These symptoms of an IBS attack can occur at any time, but they are often triggered by a stressful day, certain meals, or menstruation. IBS attacks can often be lessened by:

  • Eating an IBS-friendly diet.
  • Altering the levels of fiber consumed.
  • Drinking fluids.
  • Doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
  • Reducing alcohol and carbonated drink intake.

Since IBS shares many symptoms with other conditions such as pancreatic trouble, gallstones, or lactose intolerance, it is important to consult an IBS symptom checker and contact a doctor for a diagnosis.