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Clearing the bowels

Hi all, first time posting and just hoping for any advice.

I’ve been told I have IBS. Not really sure whether I have IBSC or D. Basically, I have no issues going to the bathroom. I tend to be able to go first thing each morning. However, I never feel like I’ve fully emptied bowels. This leads to me having a lot of pressure and discomfort around the anus and my coccyx throughout the day. Does anyone else experience anything similar and have any recommendations?

I’m unsure whether a laxative or colon cleanse supplement is suitable for me considering I don’t have ‘proper’ constipation.

It would just be nice to be able feel empty.

Thanks in advance!

  1. Great question, we are so glad you reached out to the community about this. You are definitely not alone with this "unfinished" feeling after a bowel movement, and I deal with it myself.

    When I am in more of a constipation mode where it is difficult to have daily bowel movements, I take a couple of softeners each night before bed, often with a laxative pill, and that has been very effective.

    Although you have a daily bowel movement, you don't feel that you have completely emptied. That could be called constipation too, but a milder form. You might try taking one stool softener before bed. It might gently make your bowel empty more the next day. If it doesn't, you could try taking 2 stool softeners. Stool softeners are much gentler than laxatives.

    Trial and error is the name of the game when we have a chronic condition. I hope others will chime in with their own experience and advice. I hope you'll soon find a way to empty more completely and feel a bit more "normal." Hugs, Kim, moderator

    1. Thank you for your advice.

      Would you advise attempting this if my bowel movements are already quite soft?
      I’m newly diagnosed with IBS, but have had bowel issues for a few years.

      I appreciate the support and will look into both yours and any other responses to see if things work for me.

    2. If your stool is already soft, a stool softener would likely make it even softer. If you haven't already, you might ask your doctor about your concerns.

      While there is such a thing as a colon cleanse, it is rather harsh and involves clearing the bowel completely, much like prepping for a colonoscopy.

      Another thought I had: Is it possible that you have the sensation of not completely emptying, but actually DO empty? I ask because there were times when I had such irritation with a bowel movement that my nerves seemed to be "overactive" for a short time after a BM, giving me the sensation that there is more to come. Eventually that feeling disappeared, however.

      Also, some questions I have are: what symptoms brought you to a doctor, and what led to your doctor to diagnosing you with IBS? Was it something more than feeling that you don't empty completely? Best, Kim, moderator

  2. Once again, thanks Kim.

    I plan to speak with my GP this week. I’ve just found myself at the hospice quite a lot recently, and it never really addresses my concerns. I’ll mention ‘next steps’ to them. As I’m already trying to monitor my food intake and track against a FODMAP diet. I’m interested in Nerva and the Rheal products, if you’ve experienced them?

    My symptoms at the time of heading to the Dr. were abdominal cramping (I was getting a lot of gurgling and spasms in my stomach). I also had an urge to empty my bowels quite frequently. Often experiencing a sense of urgency.
    I was also experiencing acid reflux and a burning sensation in my stomach, alongside frequent burping.

    At this point I was prescribed Mebeverine and lanzoprazole. Both worked for me, but I’m trying to come off of the medication as the lanzoprazole isn’t the best for my health for long-term use.

    With the urge to go, I was also often producing mucus. This was experienced when I was pooping very little or not at all, despite the urge to go.

    Apologies, but I’m unsure what you mean by DO empty! I do feel like my bowels are overreactive. My bowel movements are often quite a good size first thing. So it is strange when I get an urge to go, although this happens almost every day.

    Thanks again!

    1. I’ve been suggested to take a fibre supplement. So will provide an update after a few weeks to state whether it is working

    2. I hope it'll work for you! Please keep us updated on that.

      For anyone else who might be interested, we have an article about fiber here:, as well as this article (in two parts) about fiber for different types of IBS: 1), 2) -Karina (team member)

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