03 May, 2021 #Knowledge

What are the symptoms of an IBS Attack?

What Are the Symptoms of an IBS Attack?

Early studies have shown that Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS has a low prevalence in developing countries. Nowadays, it is observed that IBS is becoming a growing syndrome as people are being westernized in developed as well as developing countries. IBS has become common in most people in the working-age group due to their busy life schedule.


IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects the body’s large intestine. IBS is termed as other different names in different places, especially, Colitis, Mucous Colitis, Spastic Colon, Nervous Colon, and Spastic Bowel.


The types of IBS differ from the changes of bowel movements one has. According to medical researches, there are four types of condition i.e.

  • IBS with Constipation (IBS-C) – In an IBS-C situation, on days the patient has at least one abnormal bowel movement, i.e., more than a quarter of stool is hard and lumpy, and less than a quarter is watery.
  • IBS with Diarrhea (IBS-D)- in an IBS-D situation, on days the patient has at least one abnormal bowel movement, i.e., more than a quarter of stool is watery and less of it is hard and lumpy.
  • Mixed IBS (IBS-M)- It shares symptoms of both IBS-C and IBS-D. It is more than a quarter of hard and lumpy stool and more than a quarter of watery stool.
  • Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U) – It is a specific type where stool consistency does not match IBS -C, D, and M.
  • Post Infectious IBS (PI-IBS)- This type causes the sudden onset of IBS symptoms after a gastrointestinal infection.

Knowing the type of IBS might help the patient recover fast, especially IBS-C and IBS-D.


The following symptoms characterize IBS:

  • Abdominal pain cramps
  • Constipation and bloating
  • A stomachache

It is not unusual for people with IBS to experience both constipation and diarrhea at the same time. Bloating and gas are common symptoms that go away after a bowel movement. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not persistent. They can overcome, but they still return.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can affect men and women equally, but it affects women more frequently. According to a study conducted by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), men in Western societies are far less likely than women to show symptoms of IBS to their doctor.

Symptoms in women: IBS is most often diagnosed in women during their reproductive years. Women with IBS are more likely to have gynecologic problems.

  • Menstruation: Many reports show that symptoms in women with IBS do vary according to their menstrual cycle. Before and during their period, women do have more abdominal pain and diarrhea. After ovulation, women do feel more bloating and constipation. They have symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, cramps, food sensitivity, and premenstrual syndrome(PMS).
  • Pregnancy: One-third of all pregnant women do experience heartburn, nausea, and bowel movements, or constipation. There has not been any research done to link pregnancy with an increase in IBS symptoms.
  • Endometriosis: It is a disorder in which tissue inside the uterus grows outside it. According to IFFGD, women who have endometriosis have higher symptoms of IBS.

Symptoms in Men: Men in Western countries as compared to women have more minor report IBS symptoms to their doctor as shown in studies. As a consequence, usable data are scarce. According to some researchers, the male gut may be less susceptible to IBS symptoms due to hormonal differences. Others believe that men refuse to seek treatment for IBS. The symptoms in men are almost the same as in women for IBS. Men also may experience a problem with sexual intimacy. Men with IBS may also face difficulty doing their work, home, and social obligations. They might suffer depression too.

The symptoms of IBS do slightly vary in case of each type:

Symptoms of IBS-C: IBS-C is characterized by abdominal pain and nausea as well as improvements in bowel function. Bloating or gas can also occur. Straining, infrequent stools, stiff or lumpy stools, and a sensation that the bowel does not discharge completely are all signs of bowel dysfunction. Some people may experience a ‘blockage’ that prevents them from passing stools. To help complete their bowel movement, they may need to push on the part of their body or adjust their body position.

Symptoms of IBS -D: IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) is characterized by the sudden urge to have loose stools, frequent stools, abdominal pain and nausea, gas, and the feeling of not being able to clear the bowel. Patients with extreme IBS-D can lose control of their bowels.

Symptoms of IBS-M: In this type, it shares the symptoms of both IBS -C and IBS-D. The symptoms present in IBS-M include

  • Abdominal cramps
  • The urgency for using the bathroom.
  • Both hard and watery stools.
  •  The feeling of not able to clear the bowel.


The risk factors that cause Irritable bowel syndrome are:

  • Muscle Contraction in the Intestinal region: The intestine walls are lined with the layers of muscle that contracts as they move food forward through one digestive tract. More muscular contractions can cause diarrhea, and weak contractions lead to hard stools.
  • Nervous system: Abnormalities in nerves if the digestive tract does cause discomfort when the abdomen stretches from the stool. Poor signals between the brain and intestine may cause the digestive process differently lead to diarrhea or constipation.
  • Severe Infection: bacterial growth may cause this syndrome.

What Triggers The IBS?

Symptoms of IBS are triggered by:

  • Food: Food allergies play a significant role in IBS. It is rarely caused by a true food allergy. However, many people experience worse IBS symptoms when consuming certain foods or beverages such as wheat, dairy products, cabbage, and carbonated drinks.
  • Early life Stress: During times of increased stress, most people with IBS experience worse or more frequent signs and symptoms. However, while stress can intensify symptoms, it does not cause them.


There is no cure for IBS. However, treatment may help at relieving the symptoms.

Home remedies FOR IBS: Certain dietary modifications or lifestyle changes do relieve IBS symptoms. These include:

  • Eat healthy balanced food, including fiber.
  • Participating in regular physical exercises.
  • Minimize the stress of work
  • Avoid spicy and fried foods.
  • Cutting out caffeine and alcohol completely.

Medication for IBS: If the patient’s symptoms do not improve through home remedies, the doctor may suggest medication. Antibiotics have been used to treat IBS for a very long time, especially Rifaximin and placebo. For IBS symptoms, the patients receiving Rifaximin did better than the patients receiving placebo. It also affects intestinal bacteria.


IBS is a complex disorder with a Poorly understood pathophysiology. With a wide range of symptoms ranging from constipation and diarrhea, one treatment is inappropriate. The patient has to take care through home remedies or changing their lifestyle.

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