Signs and Symptoms of IBS

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include the following:

  • Bloating
  • Cramping and abdominal pain, which may or may not go away after having a bowel movement
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or both (Diarrhea may be more bothersome in the early morning or after eating.)
  • Gas
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Urgent need to have a bowel movement or feeling that the bowel has not completely emptied

Not all patients experience the same symptoms of IBS. Patients may have diarrhea only, constipation only, or varying bouts of both. Some patients have long-lasting (chronic), constant symptoms and others experience attacks that come and go.

IBS Complications

Irritable bowel syndrome can affect daily life. Patients may be unable to work regular hours, or discomfort and frequent trips to the restroom may make them less efficient while at work. Relationships with others also may be affected. Some patients experience anxiety and depression.

Avoiding certain food triggers can cause malnourishment, so patients must be sure to replace any missing nutrients. Diarrhea and constipation can worsen hemorrhoids.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Feb 2008

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2015