Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems and those who have it are desperately searching for relief. But, how do you know if you have IBS? First, consult the following list of IBS symptoms. Do any of the following apply to you?
- abdominal pain or discomfort relieved by a bowel movement
- three or more bowel movements a day (diarrhea)
- three or fewer bowel movements a week (constipation)
- loose, watery stools (diarrhea)
- hard, dry stools (constipation)
- feeling of urgency (diarrhea)
- straining during a bowel movement (constipation)
- feeling of incomplete evacuation
- passage of mucus
- gas and bloating
- intestional noises or discomfort
If so, keep reading!
Bowel-related IBS Symptoms
An interesting characteristic of irritable bowel syndrome is the fact that the bowel related symptoms can show up in one of two ways. You can either experience diarrhea, or constipation as a symptom. In addition to that, the shape and texture of your bowel movements will vary. Anything from a thin, hard stool or a loose, water-like stool is a common bowel symptom of IBS.
As far as the intestinal tract goes, many people suffering from IBS will have a symptom that feels like there is too much gas in the intestines. It manifests as a feeling of overall bloating and can be very uncomfortable to live with. This excessive gas can disrupt the daily flow of your life and cause you to become distracted and irritable. If it leads to excessive or uncontrollable flatulence, it can have a devastating effect on your social life.
Non-bowel IBS Symptoms
Surprisingly, IBS symptoms are not limited to your gastrointestinal tract. They can manifest in a variety of ways throughout your body, some more unpleasant than others.
First, you can experience a marked change in your mood. A loss of interest in your work, life, or social network can be a sign of a depressive episode, which can be caused by irritable bowel syndrome. On the flip side you can also experience a heightened sense of emotions by becoming nervous and anxious about many insignificant events in your life. An overall sense of tiredness or fatigue can accompany an IBS diagnosis, coupled with headaches.
It isn’t uncommon to have a hard time sleeping because of IBS, and not just because of the other symptoms that are listed. If you’re finding that you have become an insomniac and have a very hard time sleeping (if you can sleep at all), this could be due to IBS.
Further, you could experience discomfort during sex, or a decreased libido.
Other IBS Symptoms
It’s been reported that some people who end up having irritable bowel syndrome mention having had an odd taste in their mouth over the last few months. They said it was not a good taste, but not unbearable – just something that they would rather not be tasting.
Additionally, a backache is a common side effect of IBS. It’s not a very good indicator of the disease, because backaches are a symptom of so many different diseases or afflictions. Still, you should be looking at your symptoms as a whole and if IBS and backaches fit in with the rest of what you have read above, you should definitely be including it in your diagnosis.
Note that not having backaches, decreased libido, trouble sleeping, mood changes, or an odd taste do not disqualify you from having IBS. These are very general symptoms and do not appear in even most cases.
IBS Symptoms According to DRs
If you were to visit a doctor, they would ask you questions in order to determine only the following:
If you have stomach trouble on more than 10% of the last 90 days.
If you have stools of abnormally varied consistencies or bowel movements with abnormally varied frequencies.
If both are true, then they’d classify you as having IBS. But go to a doctor anyway, because most IBS symptoms overlap with those of other digestive disorders.
Know Your Body, Find Your Cure
All of these IBS symptoms require you to be aware of your body and note what you see or feel happening to it on a daily basis. Don’t ignore these problems because you think that they’re “no big deal.” In combination, these IBS symptoms can point to a serious case of irritable bowel syndrome, which is something that should be dealt with as soon as possible.