You are more likely to have IBS if you have these symptoms and they have lasted at least 6 months, you have had belly pain at least 3 days each month for at least 3 months, and at least two of the following are true:1
No one knows the exact reason for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a digestive disorder that affects up to 15% of Americans. It causes belly pain, cramps, and bloating, as well as diarrhea and constipation.
The one thing that experts are certain about: Your gender plays a role. Women are about twice as likely to have IBS as men. A growing body of research shows that sex hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, may be the reason. They can trigger IBS symptoms, which may explain why you have more...
The pain is linked to a change in how often you have a bowel movement.
The pain is linked to a change in the appearance or consistency of your stool.
Because there are no structural problems in the intestines of people who have IBS, some people may think this means that the symptoms "are all in their head." This isn't true. The pain, discomfort, and bloating are real. They have many different causes that can be addressed to help relieve symptoms.
Bowel movement patterns
When you have IBS, your pattern of bowel movements may be different over time. Two or more of the following may happen:
Bowel movements may occur either more often (diarrhea) or less often (constipation) than usual. For example, you may have more than 3 bowel movements a day or less than 3 a week.
Bowel movements may differ in size or consistency. They may be hard and small, pencil-thin, or loose and watery.
The way stools pass changes. You may strain, feel an urgent need to have a bowel movement, or feel that you haven't completely passed a stool.
You may have bloating or a feeling of gas in the intestines.
Other intestinal symptoms
Some people may have pain in the lower belly with constipation that is sometimes followed by diarrhea. Other people have pain and mild constipation but no diarrhea.
Some people have intestinal gas and passage of mucus in stools.
You may sometimes have other symptoms that don't affect the intestines, such as: