Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
Firstly, I can not stress this enough: If you are experiencing any of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms outlined below, and have not yet seen a doctor about it, do not automatically assume that you have IBS! Never self-diagnose IBS!
It is very important that you seek the advice of your doctor to make certain that your symptoms are not caused by something more serious.
A note of reassurance
On a more re-assuring note, there is a good chance that it is likely to be nothing more serious than IBS.
More serious conditions tend to be rarer than your imagination may have you believe. Even blood in the stool does not necessarily mean there is anything seriously wrong.
As a further note of reassurance, Sian would like to add that she has experienced these symptoms several times in the last 15-20 years (rectal bleeding and blood within stools) yet it did not prove to be anything more serious than a slight tearing of the rectum muscle wall after severe diarrhea or hard stools.
However, it is still very important that you visit your doctor if you have not already done so regarding these symptoms.
If nothing else, it will allow you to rule out the slightest possibility that you may have something more serious, and will provide you with significant peace-of mind.
So, What are Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms?
IBS Symptoms can range from very mild to very severe, with any and all degrees of variation in-between.
It can affect anyone of any age, from children through to the elderly, although the more common age groups tend to be around 14 – 40.
In some, the symptoms of IBS will come-on gradually. In others they could manifest very quickly.
IBS symptoms are known to manifest more severely during times of stress, with symptoms often subsiding when the stress levels drop.
The more common Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms can include (but are not limited to)…
- Abdominal pain of varying degrees
- Mild to severe Gas
- Alternating/random Diarrhea and constipation (IBS-D for diarrhea-dominant and IBS-C for constipation-dominant sufferers)
- Frequent changes in bowel habits
Most IBS sufferers will usually have at least a couple of these symptoms, often more.
Never feeling empty
Discomfort may be eased by bowel movements, which could be frequent, though the sufferer may also feel that their bowels have not been emptied completely. The example of the tube of toothpaste springs to mind here, where you think the toothpaste tube is empty, yet you can still go on for another week getting more toothpaste out of it.
An urge to move the bowels, but inability to do so is also very common with IBS.
Other common Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms include the sudden and urgent need to move the bowels.
This is one of the more debilitating sides of IBS and will often instil in people a fear of leaving the house or travelling etc in case they get caught-short.
This is something that is particularly prominent in Rick’s life, and affects him on a day-to-day basis. (also see Rick’s article on the psychological effects of living with IBS)
Fear and worry can be a major factor in dealing with IBS. Often it can be a simple lack of understanding about IBS that causes the greatest anxiety.
That is why it is so essential to arm yourself with proper diagnosis, and good up-to-date knowledge about IBS, so you understand that these Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms, although unpleasant, are not life threatening.
IBS-Life.com is dedicated to providing reassurance to IBS sufferers by arming them with some of the knowledge and information they need to cope with it.