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Symptoms Of IBS: Bloating

Bloating is a gastrointestinal symptom often experienced by IBS sufferers.1 About 70% of people with IBS considered bloating to be an important factor in contributing to the severity of their IBS.2

What is abdominal bloating?

Abdominal bloating feels as though the belly is full and tight. The belly may even look swollen and protrude slightly outward. Some people may have trouble differentiating between gas pains and bloating.3

Who is most likely to feel bloated?

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

What is the average frequency?

Among people with constipation-predominant IBS, bloating was experienced almost 3 days per week. More than half of people with constipation-predominant IBS considered bloating to be very or extremely bothersome.3

How does bloating affect my life?

Bloating was associated with a decrease in quality of life, including decreased energy levels, lower food intake, and decreased physical functioning.5

Will medication help relieve my symptoms?

Approximately 50% of people with constipation-predominant IBS talked about their bloating symptoms with their doctor.3 IBS sufferers strongly considered using medication if their bloating symptoms could be improved.2 Antibiotics, such as rifaximin, have been used to improve bloating symptoms.1

Written by: Truc Thanh | Last reviewed: June 2016.
  1. Wilkins T, Pepitone C, Alex B, Schade RR. Diagnosis and management of IBS in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86:419-426.
  2. IBS Patients: Their Illness Experience and Unmet Needs. IFFGD 2009.
  3. Heidelbaugh JJ, Stelwagon M, Miller SA, Shea EP, Chey WD. The spectrum of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation: US survey assessing symptoms, care seeking, and disease burden. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr;110(4):580-7.
  4. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. IBS in the Real World Survey. Summary Findings. August 2002.
  5. Ringel Y, Williams RE, Kalilani L, Cook SF. Prevalence, characteristics, and impact of bloating symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009;7:68-72.