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Symptoms of IBS Attack

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Although it is not a life-threatening disease and doesn’t damage the colon, IBS can cause a person to experience a lot of distress and discomfort.

Symptoms of IBS Attack

In order to possess the criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the symptoms of IBS attack must have started 6 months prior to diagnosis and include pain and discomfort in the abdomen for a minimum of 3 days per month within the previous 3 months. In addition, two of the three following statements must apply:
  • The pain is accompanied with a change in the stool’s consistency and appearance.
  • The pain is accompanied by changes in bowel movement frequency.
  • The pain dissipates after a bowel movement.

One of the most common IBS symptoms is a difference in the pattern of bowel movements. More specifically, these symptoms of IBS attack may include but are not limited to:
  • Bloating and the buildup of gas within the intestinal and abdominal area.
  • Differences in the consistency of bowel movements, making them more watery and loose or more pellet-like and hard.
  • Bowel movements may occur less frequently due to constipation (indicated by less than 3 BMs a week) or more often due to diarrhea (indicated by more than 3 BMs a day).
  • Changes in the passing of stools might also occur. This could lead to straining or an urgent need to use the bathroom.
Other IBS symptoms may also occur in the intestines. Some individuals may experience pain in the lower abdomen that is accompanied with constipation followed with diarrhea, although not all people will have diarrhea. Other symptoms may include gas in the intestines and mucus in the stools.

There are also symptoms of a non-gastrointestinal nature which may occur. These might include:
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Backache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Problems during sexual intercourse including pain and reduced libido
  • Palpitations of the heart
  • Differences in patterns of urination such as frequent urination or a persistent feeling of bladder fullness which is present even immediately after urination.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome attack typically become more pronounced during periods of stress and anxiety as well as menstruation in women.

There are several other conditions which may possess the same IBS signs. These may include:
  • The use of artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol
  • Abuse of antacids and laxatives
  • IBD or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Tumors located in the digestive system
  • Pancreatic issues
  • Celiac disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Gallstones
  • Endometriosis and other diseases which affect the reproductive organs of the female
  • GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Infestation of parasites in the intestines, which can occur in those who have lived in or traveled to areas which have poor sanitation.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment. Though there is currently no cure for the disorder; in the majority of cases, those with symptoms of IBS attack find that home treatments such as diet changes are the most effective way to manage the condition.

Additionally, studies have shown that personal situations, including periods of high stress and anxiety, may cause an exacerbation in IBS symptoms. Once the symptoms have been identified as IBS symptoms, it will be far easier to adjust your diet to help the condition.

  Read also: Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Alterations in the diet as well as reduction in stress and anxiety can help to keep IBS symptoms managed and under control. It may even prevent the onset of symptoms altogether.

As far as foods to avoid, any food that causes an increase in gas can be detrimental. These gas-inducing foods include cabbage, certain beans, caffeine, alcohol, candy, as well as sugarless chewing gum. These foods have been shown to exacerbate symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of IBS attack, make sure to contact your doctor and schedule a physical examination. Too often, individuals ignore the symptoms and simply choose to live with the discomforts of the condition. There is no reason for this. With proper stress management and alterations in the diet, it is possible to reduce or even eliminate the discomfort of IBS.


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