Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

There are three types of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. They include:

There are about an equal number of people with IBS in each category. There is also evidence that most people with IBS will alternate between types over time.

This all makes it difficult for researchers to find a single drug treatment that will relieve all the symptoms of IBS. Different medications work for IBS with constipation and for IBS with diarrhea. Doctors will usually tailor an individual treatment regimen for people who have IBS with alternating symptoms.

People with alternating IBS symptoms should not try to treat themselves, says J. Patrick Waring, MD, a gastroenterologist at Digestive Health Care of Georgia.

"They should not take something for their constipation on their own, and then when they get diarrhea, take something for their diarrhea, and go back and forth," he says. "That can actually exacerbate the problem."

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on October 17, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:
J. Patrick Waring, MD, gastroenterologist, Digestive Health Care of Georgia.
Medscape.com: "Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome," and "Consensus Report: Clinical Trial Guidelines for Pharmacological Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome."
American College of Gastroenterology.

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