What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as “irritable colon”, is a common long-term disorder that affects the large intestine with symptoms varied in severity and duration from one individual to the other.

This disorder is thought to affect the lives of up to one in five people, between the age of 20 and 30 years old. And women are usually affected by this disorder more than men.

Most people who have IBS do not develop severe signs and symptoms. Some people manage to control the symptoms by reducing stress and leading a healthy lifestyle and diet.

It is worth mentioning though that IBS doesn’t increase the chances of developing colorectal cancer and other bowel-related conditions.


The causes of IBS are not precisely known so far. Yet many experts think the possible causes may include an overly sensitive colon or immune system. Additionally, there are a number of factors that could be the reason behind the condition. These factors include:

  • Intestine Contractions.
  • Nervous System Abnormalities
  • Severe Intestine Infections
  • Childhood Stress
  • Gut Microbes Changes


The symptoms are not always persistent, as they tend to come back sometimes after being resolved. Yet, some people might suffer from continuous symptoms. And the symptoms could be triggered by certain foods or drinks.

Women tend to experience the symptoms -or increased symptoms- around the time of menstruation and during pregnancy in some cases. While women after menopause tend to have fewer symptoms.

On the other hand, men often experience the same symptoms, yet they do not usually report these symptoms to a doctor or seek professional help.

Below are the main symptoms that should encourage you to seek professional help if you have any of them:

  • Stomach Pain
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Farting
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Backache
  • Peeing Difficulty


Many people succeed in managing their IBS symptoms by avoiding triggers. And the main triggers are divided into 2 main categories.

  • Food: Indeed, there are certain foods and drinks that are common triggers for many people, but some might have a greater effect on you compared to others. These foods often include dairy products, wheat, cabbage, citrus fruits, milk, carbonated drinks, fried foods, indigestible sugars, and beans.

Additionally, your doctor might recommend eliminating the following from your diet: High-gas foods, gluten, and FODMAPs carbohydrates.

  • Stress: Stress might aggravate the previously mentioned symptoms, not cause them. Most people who suffer from IBS will experience more severe symptoms during periods of heightened tensions and stress.


  • Suffering chronic constipation or diarrhea might cause hemorrhoids.
  • Mood disorders increasing depression and anxiety, making the symptoms more severe.
  • Poor quality of life leading people to miss professional and social events.

Who is at risk?

You are more likely to have IBS if you are one of the following:

  • Younger than 50 years of age.
  • Female, especially one who had estrogen therapy before.
  • Someone With a family history of IBS patients.
  • Someone who suffers from anxiety, depression, or other mental issues.

How to treat your IBS condition?

IBS treatment revolves around relieving your symptoms to be able to live normally. The mild symptoms are often controlled easily by doing the following:

  • Managing stress
  • Eating high-fiber foods
  • Eating at regular times
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids

Additionally, there are dozens of drugs and medications that relieve the symptoms or are specifically approved for treating IBS symptoms. But it is recommended to consult your certified physician to diagnose your condition determine what would work best for you.

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