Irritable Bowel Syndrome Ibs Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms occur as a result of intestinal dysfunction and are not due to bowel disease. In certain instances, they disappear of their own accord; in others, some form of medical intervention is required.

The Main Source of Symptoms

The colon, or large intestine, links the small intestine to the rectum and is the main site of IBS symptoms.

Symptoms may vary from patient to patient, both in their intensity and their frequency. All patients, however, suffer from at least some of the following symptoms. Tell your doctor if you experience any of them, as they provide essential clues in the diagnosis of IBS.

Change in Bowel Habits: Changes may be associated with frequency of bowel movements or a change in the appearance of stools. An increased sensation of urgency to empty the bowel is also commonplace.

Constipation: The occurrence of constipation is usually associated with the difficult or irregular passage of stools.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea results from an increased rate of stool movement through the colon. It often alternates with constipation and may be accompanied by an increased sense of urgency to empty the bowel.

Incomplete Emptying or Straining (Tenesmus): A feeling of incomplete emptying is common, with varying degrees of discomfort or difficulty in elimination.

Bloating/Fullness: Abdominal bloating and fullnessa result of gas buildup in the intestinesare sometimes accompanied by a sensation of discomfort and tenderness.

Intestinal Gas/Flatulence: Accompanied by belching, rumbling noises and passing wind, intestinal gas is difficult to control.

Mucus: Sometimes IBS sufferers pass mucus in their stools.

Abdominal Pain: Often, a sharp stabbing pain, low down inside the rectum (known as proctalgia fugax) accompanies a “colicky” abdominal pain.

Muscle Cramps: Muscle cramps or spasms in the IBS patient are usually due to increased sensitivity and can cause pain when the muscles of the bowel go into spasm.

Symptoms Not Associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The following conditions are not associated with irritable bowel syndrome and may indicate other problems:

  • bleeding from the rectum
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • severe and persistent abdominal pain.


Beers, M.H.,