What Are the Symptoms of IBS?
The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include pain or discomfort in your abdomen and changes in how often you have bowel movements or how your stools look.
The pain or discomfort of IBS may feel like cramping and have at least two of the following:
- Your pain or discomfort improves after a bowel movement
- You notice a change in how often you have a bowel movement
- You notice a change in the way your stools look
IBS is a chronic disorder, meaning it lasts a long time, often years. However, the symptoms may come and go. You may have IBS if:
- You’ve had symptoms at least three times a month for the past 3 months.
- Your symptoms first started at least 6 months ago.
People with IBS may have diarrhea, constipation, or both. Some people with IBS have only diarrhea or only constipation. Some people have symptoms of both or have diarrhea sometimes and constipation at other times. People often have symptoms soon after eating a meal.
Other symptoms of IBS are:
- The feeling that you haven’t finished a bowel movement
- Whitish mucus in your stool
Women with IBS often have more symptoms during their menstrual periods. While IBS can be painful, IBS doesn’t lead to other health problems or damage your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.