IBS Signs & Symptoms

IBS Signs & Symptoms

IBS Signs & symptoms

According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, between 10 and 15 percent of Americans are affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Most individuals experience only mild symptoms, but approximately one-quarter have moderate symptoms, and around five percent struggle with severe symptoms.

While the condition can affect everyone differently, the key symptoms of IBS are numerous and can be life-disrupting. These can include:

  • Unexplained differences in bowel habits
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Excessive gas and bloating
  • Mucus in your stool
  • Reduced appetite

There are also a variety of symptoms associated with IBS that are not intestinal in origin, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Lower back pain
  • Difficulty sleeping due to IBS symptoms
  • Pain during intercourse or reduced libido
  • Heart palpitations
  • Problems with urination, such as urgency, difficulty going or incomplete bladder emptying

While most IBS symptoms in women are the same as IBS symptoms in men, some affect the sexes differently. For instance, women tend to experience more problems during menstruation, and men with IBS may be more likely to suffer from erectile problems.

IBS is a likely diagnosis if symptoms of IBS attack persist for six months or longer, if you’ve had abdominal pain for three or more days every month or if you experience two or all of these:

  • Your discomfort goes away after a bowel movement
  • Your pain is related to changes in your bowel habits
  • Your pain is related to differences in the appearance of your bowel movements
Changes in Bowel Function

People with IBS may find that their bowel function changes with time, which can involve one or more of the following:

  • A sudden increase or decrease in the frequency of your bowel movements that cannot be linked to lifestyle issues or other illnesses
  • Unexplained differences in the consistency, size, odor or color of your bowel movements
  • Changes in in the movements themselves, like straining or feeling like the movement was incomplete

With IBS constipation is also a common problem, and it can worsen the symptoms. However, these same people may struggle with diarrhea shortly after a bout of constipation. Others may experience chronic low-level constipation without diarrhea.

Many people notice that their symptoms appear after eating or during times of stress. Examinations show no abnormalities in the structure of the intestines, which makes many people wonder if they’re imagining the problem. However, while this condition is not yet well understood, it is very real. There are a variety of suspected causes for the disorder and more treatments are becoming available. If you suspect that you have IBS, running your symptoms through an IBS symptom checker can help you learn more.


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