Ask a Doctor
I’ve been having problems with constipation and gassiness for more two weeks now. A friend suggested I may have IBS, but I thought that caused diarrhea. What are the first signs of irritable bowel syndrome?
- Abdominal cramping and pain that are relieved with bowel movements
- Alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation
- Those who mostly have diarrhea as a symptom are considered to have IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), characterized by sudden urges to have bowel movements, along with loose stools, , frequent stools, abdominal pain and discomfort, gas, and the feeling of being unable to completely empty the bowels. In severe cases of IBS-D, individuals may lose control of their bowels.
- Those who mostly have constipation as a symptom are considered to have IBS with constipation (IBS-C), characterized by passage of hard, lumpy stools, straining during bowel movements, and infrequent stools
- Change in the stool frequency or consistency
- Gassiness (flatulence)
- Passing mucus from the rectum
- Abdominal distension
- Loss of appetite
Though not a symptom of IBS, indigestion affects up to 70% of people with IBS.
The following are NOT signs and symptoms or characteristics of IBS (but should still be brought to the attention of a health-care professional since they may be signs and symptoms of other conditions):
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Camilleri, M. "Current and future pharmacological treatments for diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome." Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 2013. 14 (9), 1151-1160.
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. "IBS and IBD: Two Very Different Disorders."
Jeffrey S. Hyams, M.D. Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children. National Institutes of Health. Jun 25, 2014.
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. "IBS Diet: Cramping and Diarrhea." Jun 14, 2016.
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. "IBS in the Real World." Jul 26, 2016.
National Cancer Institute. "What are cruciferous vegetables?" Jun 07, 2012.