The Five Primary Symptoms of IBS
IBS, which stands for irritable bowel syndrome, is a big label given to a group people who have one or more very common digestive symptoms (1). There are many different symptoms that are covered under the IBS umbrella, but five major symptoms really stand out.
If you have one or more of these symptoms for a few months or longer, then you probably have IBS.
Keep in mind that you may experience only one of these symptoms, or any combination of these symptoms. And it’s not unusual for symptoms to change over time, which can be in the same day or over the course of several years. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that IBS presents differently in different patients.
IBS can also involve many other symptoms. These are described after we address the four primary symptoms.
Finally, the symptoms of IBS are also found in several other diseases. Those other diseases are what other doctors, including your gastroenterologist, are primarily looking for when you go to the doctor. They are not focused on looking for IBS, but on ruling out other problems, which is important (2).
But when they don’t find any of them (i.e. appendicitis, gallstones, pancreatitis, C. difficile, cancer, etc.) then they end up unable to help you, and you end up with no answers. This is why you need an IBS specialist, a doctor who is an expert in IBS. All we do at the IBS Treatment Center is diagnose and solve digestive problems that have fallen through the cracks.
Diarrhea, which may be called IBS-D, is often thought to be the classic component of IBS, but less than half of people with IBS have diarrhea. Although it can be urgent and explosive, diarrhea comes in many other forms. Stools can be regular but very loose and watery, mushy, or soft and crumbly and fall apart. Surprisingly, some IBS patients alternate between diarrhea and constipation, sometimes referred to as mixed IBS, or IBS-M. Whether or not you think of your diarrhea as problematic, it’s a serious sign that you aren’t digesting properly and therefore not absorbing nutrients properly. This affects the health of your entire body. There is always a solution for diarrhea, and we’re here to help you find it! Contact us online. Read some of our patient success stories here.