Common Symptoms Of IBS

Abdominal pain and cramps

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of IBS. Since it is so common, the absence of abdominal pain almost always excludes a diagnosis of IBS.1 Abdominal pain is a common complaint among all types of IBS.2-3


Diarrhea is a major part of IBS for people who are diarrhea-predominant and may be an issue for people with mixed- or alternating-IBS.1 Diarrhea is experienced by both men and women.4


Constipation is common in people with constipation-predominant IBS or mixed IBS.1 More women suffered from constipation than men.4

Gassiness or flatulence

Gas was considered to be the symptom most often experienced by diarrhea-predominant IBS sufferers.4 However, constipation-predominant IBS sufferers may also complain of gassiness.2


Bloating is more common in constipation-predominant IBS and mixed-IBS than in diarrhea-predominant IBS.4,5 Women were more likely to complain of bloating than men.5

Tenesmus or a feeling of incomplete bowel movement

People with IBS who have diarrhea may feel incomplete relief after a bowel movement. Some people with IBS who have constipation may have a similar feeling of incomplete relief after a bowel movement.1

Mucus in stool

Finding mucus in the stools occurs in about 40% of IBS sufferers. IBS sufferers with diarrhea may be more likely to have mucus in their stools during a bowel movement.1

Urgency and fecal incontinence

About one third of people with diarrhea-predominant IBS experienced loss of bowel control or sudden urges to have bowel movements.4 Though not as prevalent, people with mixed IBS or constipation-predominant IBS may also have fecal incontinence. It is equally prevalent in males and females.6


Nausea is a symptom among people with all types of IBS.4 However, nausea may be more prevalent in women than in men.7

Non-gastrointestinal symptoms

The most common non-gastrointestinal symptoms may be chronic fatigue syndrome, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and fibromyalgia.8

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Written by: Truc Thanh | Last reviewed: June 2016.