Gas bubble symbolizes bloating on one shoulder and on the other shoulder fire represents the burning from cramps and abdominal pain

IBS-C Pain vs. IBS-D Pain

I have IBS-M so I have episodes of both IBS-C and IBS-D. Both sides of the coin are awful, and both episodes are painful. Neither is preferable. However, the pain is different for me.

Some of the symptoms are the same or similar. Some are very different. One is certainly not better than the other or easier to deal with, but some of the differences make me wish for the flare type to change.

IBS-C symptoms and pain

Of course, IBS-C involves constipation. Sometimes it is worse than others, but it is always horrible. I still have cramping, bloating, and gas pains. The urgency is still there. However, there is an additional symptom that annoys me to no end.

If I am unable to go for more than a day or 2, I begin to have pain in other areas. Sometimes I have pain in my upper abdomen and even my chest. This is a deep pain that holds my attention. Perhaps it is because things are very backed up because this pain seems to ease when I am able to go.

IBS-D symptoms and pain

Cramping is a constant issue during an IBS-D flare. Urgency does seem to be worse than what I experience in IBS-C at times. Don’t get me wrong. I still have an urgent need to go during both types of flares but it seems to be more frequent and more dire during some IBS-D flares.

I have times when I begin to get dehydrated or anemic or just feel weak during severe IBS-D flares. Bloating and gas pains are still present, but most pain tends to be lower in the abdomen. Unless I have some pretty severe gas pains, I do not have pain in my chest.

Shared IBS-C and IBS-D symptoms

Cramping is certainly the most annoying shared symptom. Although the cramps might feel a bit different during different episodes, I still have cramps. My IBS-D cramps are sharper and often feel like a burning pain. IBS-C cramps tend to feel more solid. It is a deep, dull ache.

Gas and bloating go hand in hand with either type of flare. I am either bloated because I am backed up or bloated because of gas. Bloating and gas make it uncomfortable to wear restrictive clothing. It makes it uncomfortable to be touched in the abdomen. Sometimes gas can cause severe pain in areas aside from the abdomen.

Predicting flare types by assessing pain

Sometimes I can predict flare type or when a flare is going to end by the symptoms I have. If I have burning cramps, I am likely about to have an IBS-D flare. If I experience a lot of bloating that is not somewhat relieved by going, then I am likely heading into an IBS-C flare.

I am not able to accurately predict when a specific flare type is coming or when it will disappear, at least not before a flare is about to start. Usually, the first sign of an IBS-D flare happens right before things get bad. Once the signs are obvious, the flare has already started. Sometimes I can tell which way a flare is going right as it starts.

Do you have different symptoms during different flare types? Do you have any tips or tricks for predicting flare types?

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