Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

IBS is not a very nice illness to have. Depending upon its severity, IBS can really impact your day-to-day life, making it impossible to attend social functions, go to work or school, or even travel short distances away from home. If you have IBS, you will probably experience all three of these symptoms:

  • abdominal pain relieved by bowel movements
  • change in the frequency of bowel movements
  • change in the look of bowel movements

IBS is a chronic illness that tends to get worse over time or is exacerbated by certain foods or medicines. If you suffer from IBS, you should also keep a record of the foods that you have been eating as well as your symptoms.

If you have IBS, you may suffer from some or all of the following symptoms:


  • moderate to severe abdominal cramping
  • bloating after eating
  • flatulence
  • nausea
  • lack of appetite
  • very loose or watery stools
  • very hard, pebble-like stools
  • stools covered in stringy mucous
  • more than 3 bowel movements every day
  • extreme urgency or fecal incontinence

Cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The causes of IBS are still unknown; however, recent research does show that IBS syndrome may be caused by a problem with neurotransmitters in the brain, much like fibromyalgia.

Similar to fibromyalgia, IBS is often thought of as an illness caused by psychological reasons, such as stress.

However, new studies show that psychological factors may not be the only ones at play in causing the illness.

In order to rid your body of excess wastes, your intestines contract, pushing stool out of your body. People with IBS seem to have an overactive bowel that continuously contracts. This continuous contraction causes the cramping, bloating, and bowel difficulties associated with the illness.

Extra Sensitivity

It is thought that people with IBS have an extra sensitivity to pain and contractions that occur in their gastrointestinal tract. This is very similar to people with fibromyalgia, who have an extreme sensitivity to pain in their muscles and skin.

It has been theorized that both disorders are caused by problems with the brain’s ability to process pain signals Somehow, the brain interprets pain signals as being much more intense than they really are, resulting in severe discomfort, and sometimes even disability.

Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For people suffering from both fibromyalgia and IBS, it is important to understand how the two illnesses can impact upon each other. As many as 70% of fibromyalgia sufferers have IBS; similarly, 1 in 5 IBS sufferers have fibromyalgia.

Dealing with both illnesses at the same time can be very difficult because the symptoms tend to be much more severe.

Table of Contents
1. IBS
2. Diagnosing IBS
3. How to treat IBS
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