Skip to main content

Understanding Symptoms of IBS Attack: Relief and Treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea. An IBS attack is a period during which the symptoms of IBS are particularly severe. This article aims to shed light on what IBS attacks are, their potential triggers, symptoms, and effective management techniques to help those dealing with this condition lead a more comfortable life.

symptoms of ibs attack

What is an IBS attack?

An IBS attack is a sudden onset of the symptoms that are associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of an IBS attack can vary from person to person. However, common symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation.

IBS Attacks can vary in severity, but they typically last for several hours or days. IBS attacks can be unpredictable and can occur at any time, without warning. An IBS attack can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, eating certain foods, hormonal changes, or other factors.

While there is no cure for IBS, there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms of an IBS attack and reduce the frequency of attacks. Treatment for IBS typically involves managing the underlying stressors, as well as making dietary changes, and taking medications to relieve symptoms.

What does an IBS attack feel like

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what an IBS attack feels like, as everyone experiences the condition differently. Many people report feeling a sense of cramping or bloating in the abdomen, gas, as well as diarrhea, and/or constipation. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and may make it difficult to carry out everyday activities.

In some cases, IBS may also lead to fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

Symptoms of IBS attack

To possess the criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the symptoms of an IBS attack must have started 6 months before  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 by 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 by constipation followed by 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 that may occur. These might include:
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • 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.

Symptoms of IBS Attack in Men

The symptoms of an IBS attack in men can include:
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation, or alternating episodes of both
  • Mucus in the stool
  • An urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • A feeling of incomplete evacuation after having a bowel movement
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
Note: Symptoms can vary from person to person and may also be different from one IBS attack to another.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome attacks typically become more pronounced during periods of stress and anxiety as well as menstruation and pregnancy in women.

Symptoms of IBS Attack in Females

The symptoms of an IBS attack in females can include:
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, often relieved by bowel movements
  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation, or alternating episodes of both
  • Mucus in the stool
  • An urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • A feeling of incomplete evacuation after having a bowel movement
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Urinary symptoms such as urgency or frequency
Note: Symptoms of IBS attack in females can vary from individual to individual and may also be different from one IBS attack to another. Some women with IBS may also experience symptoms related to their menstrual cycle, such as increased abdominal pain during their period.

If you are experiencing severe or persistent symptoms, do consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

IBS attack during the period

IBS and periods can be a tricky combination. For some women, IBS symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain can be exacerbated by their period. This can make for a very tough few days each month.

How to help IBS during the period

There are a few things you can do to try and ease your IBS symptoms during your period:
  • First, make sure you're staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep things moving along smoothly.
  • Secondly, try to avoid foods that trigger your IBS. This may be difficult with all the cravings that come along with your period, but it'll be worth it in the long run.
  • And lastly, get plenty of rest. Your body is going through a lot during this time and it needs all the support it can get.
  • If you can, take a few days to pamper yourself during your period. Relax in a warm bath, take some time for yourself, and just let your body do its thing.

IBS attack when pregnant

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can be a challenging condition to manage during pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause changes in hormones and the digestive system, which can exacerbate IBS symptoms. Some common symptoms of IBS during pregnancy include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

Do talk to your doctor or obstetrician if you experience IBS symptoms during pregnancy, as they can help you manage your symptoms and ensure that your treatment plan is safe for you and your baby.

Some lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress, can help to alleviate symptoms of IBS during pregnancy. Your doctor may also recommend certain medications that are safe to take during pregnancy to help manage your symptoms.

IBS attack sweating

For some people, an IBS attack can also trigger profuse sweating, especially if the attack is accompanied by anxiety or stress. Sweating can be a sign of anxiety or stress, or it may be a symptom of the physical discomfort caused by IBS. IBS attack sweating can be accompanied by a rapid heart rate and a feeling of being flushed.

Sweating can be a sign that the body is struggling to cope with the pain and discomfort of an IBS attack, and can be a very distressing symptom, making the person feel even more uncomfortable, embarrassed, and self-conscious.

If your symptoms of IBS attack sweating are severe or persist, you should see a doctor to rule out other possible causes.

IBS attack at night

IBS attacks can be very unpredictable and often occur at night. This can be extremely frustrating and disruptive, as it can interfere with sleep. For many people, the pain and cramping can be so severe that it wakes them up from sleep. This can lead to a vicious cycle of insomnia and fatigue, which can make the symptoms even worse.

There are a few things that can be done to ease your symptoms and prevent IBS attacks at night, such as avoiding trigger foods, eating a light evening meal, and doing relaxation exercises before bed. However, even with these precautions, IBS attacks can still occur. If you find yourself dealing with a night-time IBS attack, the best thing to do is to try and relax and ride it out until it passes.

You can also take over-the-counter medications like antispasmodics or loperamide to help with pain and diarrhea. If your symptoms of IBS attack at night are severe, you may need to see a doctor for prescription medication. In some cases, IBS can be controlled with dietary changes, so it may be worth speaking to a nutritionist or dietitian.

Severe Symptoms of IBS attack

When someone experiences a severe attack of IBS, it can be very frightening. It can come on suddenly and be very severe. Severe symptoms of IBS attack may include intense abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and bloating. It is important to remember that these symptoms are not life-threatening, but they can be very debilitating.

Severe symptoms of IBS attack like intense abdominal pain and severe cramping that often come in waves, diarrhea that is watery and may be accompanied by blood, bloating, gas, nausea, and vomiting. The person may feel like they are going to pass out or have a heart attack. These symptoms can be very debilitating and may last for several days.

If you suffer from severe symptoms of IBS, it is important to talk to your doctor about ways to manage your condition and reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.

Now, several other conditions 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 that can occur in those who have lived in or traveled to areas that have poor sanitation.

How long do IBS attacks last

The duration of an IBS attack can vary from person to person. Typically symptoms of an IBS attack last between two to four days. However, Some people may have symptoms that last a few days, while others may experience symptoms for several weeks.

IBS attacks can be extremely unpredictable. Some people may only have a few attacks per year, while others may have several per week.

IBS Attack Relief and Treatment

IBS attacks can be very anxiety-inducing, especially if you're not sure what's causing them. Many people with IBS feel like they're always on the verge of having another attack, which can lead to a lot of anxiety and stress. There are a few things you can do to try to reduce your anxiety around IBS attacks:
  • Educate yourself about IBS. The more you know about the condition, the less anxious you'll be about having attacks.
  • Avoid trigger foods. If you know certain foods that seem to trigger your IBS attacks, try to avoid them. (find details in the following subheadings)
  • Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and concerns. They can help you figure out what might be causing your attacks and how to best treat them.
There is currently no cure for IBS. However, there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms of IBS attacks. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment. Treatments that can help to reduce the symptoms of IBS attack include medication, dietary changes, and stress and anxiety management.

Certain forms of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy, can help manage the stress and anxiety that can be associated with IBS.

In the majority of cases, people with symptoms of IBS attack find that home treatments such as diet changes are the most effective way to manage the condition. However, If you're having severe symptoms of an IBS attack, it's important to see your doctor so they can determine the best course of treatment.

Studies have shown that personal situations, including periods of high stress and anxiety, may cause an exacerbation of IBS symptoms. Once the symptoms have been identified as IBS symptoms, it will be far easier to adjust your diet to help the condition. In the following articles you will find some simple and effective ways to naturally reduce anxiety and stress:

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

There are also a number of medications that can be used to treat IBS, including antispasmodics (to relieve abdominal pain), antidiarrheals (to control diarrhea), and laxatives (to relieve constipation).

Some studies have shown that probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, may help to alleviate symptoms of IBS.

Certain antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help to alleviate symptoms of IBS such as abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Your doctor can help you to identify the best medication, or combination of medications for your individual needs.

In certain cases, in which the IBS attack symptoms are severe and persistent, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation.

IBS attack diet

Making small changes to your diet can make a big difference when it comes to managing your IBS. There is no one-size-fits-all diet for people with IBS, as everyone's symptoms and triggers are unique. However, some general dietary guidelines can help to ease symptoms of an IBS attack -

What to eat with an IBS attack

  • Firstly, it is important to eat regular, small meals throughout the day, rather than large, infrequent ones. This can help to prevent overeating and minimize the chances of triggering an IBS attack.
  • Secondly, high-fiber foods can be beneficial for people with IBS, as they help to keep the digestive system moving. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.
  • Thirdly, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. This can help to prevent constipation, which is a common symptom of IBS.
  • Finally, it is best to avoid foods that are known to worsen IBS symptoms. 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 IBS attacks.

What foods trigger IBS attacks

If you have IBS, you know that certain trigger foods can make your symptoms worse. During an IBS attack, it's important to avoid these foods and eat a diet that is easy on your digestive system. Common triggers include fatty and fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods.

If you are not sure which foods trigger your symptoms, it may be helpful to keep a food diary to track your symptoms. You should also work with a doctor or dietitian to figure out which foods trigger your symptoms of IBS attack. Once you know your triggers, you can avoid them and help keep your IBS under control.

What to eat after an IBS attack

If you suffer from IBS, you know that an attack can be debilitating. The pain, cramping, and diarrhea can leave you feeling exhausted and depleted. So what can you eat after an IBS attack to help you feel better?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as everyone's body is different and will respond to different foods in different ways. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you figure out what to eat after an IBS attack.
  • First, it's important to replenish fluids and electrolytes that have been lost during the attack. Sip on clear fluids like water or broth, or try a sports drink to replenish your sodium and potassium levels.
  • Second, focus on foods that are easy to digest and gentle on the stomach. This includes things like plain rice, cooked vegetables, boiled potatoes, and well-cooked whole grains. Avoid spicy, fatty, or gas-producing foods, as these can make your symptoms worse.
  • Finally, eat small, frequent meals rather than large meals. This will help your digestive system recover and avoid further triggering your IBS.
If you're not sure what to eat after an IBS attack, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian. They can help you create a plan that is right for you.

How to deal with an IBS attack at work

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you know that an IBS attack can strike at any time. And while there are some things you can do to minimize the chances of an attack, there are also times when an attack is simply unavoidable. One of those times is when you're at work.

This can be a daunting prospect, as you may be worried about dealing with the pain and embarrassment in front of your colleagues.

While there are some things you can do to try to prevent an attack (like eating a balanced diet and avoiding trigger foods), there are also some steps you can take to help manage an attack if it does occur.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with an IBS attack at work
  • Try to relax and stay calm. This can be difficult to do when you're in the middle of an attack, but it's important to try. Taking some deep breaths and focusing on relaxing your body, or taking a quick walk around the block can help.
  • If possible, go to the restroom. This can be difficult if you're in a meeting or other situation where you can't just leave, but if you can, it's important to try to relieve your symptoms.
  • If you can't leave the situation, try to discreetly get some relief. This may mean going to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet for a few minutes, or using a bathroom stall to help relieve your symptoms.
  • Keep a stash of emergency supplies with you. This may include things like food, medicines, a heating pad, or other things that can help you get through an attack.
    • Have some food on hand. If you know that certain foods trigger your IBS, try to have some of those foods on hand at work. This way, if you do have an attack, you can eat something that will help to lessen the symptoms.
    • If you're feeling nauseous, you may want to try drinking a clear liquid like water, ginger ale, or herbal tea. This can help settle your stomach and make you feel better. Avoid caffeine, as it can aggravate symptoms.
    • If you're experiencing pain, placing a heating pad on your stomach or lower back can help.
    • Carrying over-the-counter medication with you can be helpful, and there are also some natural remedies that can provide relief. If you're having diarrhea, you can try to take an antidiarrheal medication. And if you're having abdominal pain, you can try to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. 
  • Talk to your boss or HR. Let them know that you may need to take a break from work if you have an attack. This way, they will understand if you need to step away for a few minutes, or need to have a flexible schedule.
Remember, there's no shame in having IBS. It's a real medical condition that affects millions of people. If you need to take a break to deal with your symptoms, don't be afraid to do so.

Can IBS cause a heart attack?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and heart attacks are two separate conditions with different causes and symptoms – IBS can be uncomfortable and disruptive, but it's not directly linked to an increased risk of heart attack. However, both conditions can share some symptoms, like chest pain and discomfort.

Nevertheless, there are some indirect ways in which IBS might be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, although the evidence is still inconclusive.

Here's a breakdown:

IBS and heart health:
  • Chronic inflammation: IBS is characterized by chronic inflammation in the digestive system. Some research suggests that chronic inflammation throughout the body, including in the cardiovascular system, might contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. However, more research is needed to confirm this link in the context of IBS specifically.
  • Stress and anxiety: The stress and anxiety that can accompany IBS can also contribute to heart health concerns. Chronic stress can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, putting additional strain on the cardiovascular system.
  • Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors associated with IBS, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking, can also increase the risk of heart disease. Managing these factors is crucial for both gut health and overall well-being.
Important points to remember:
  • Correlation ≠ causation: While there might be some correlation between IBS and heart health risks, it's important to remember that correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation. More research is needed to fully understand the potential link between the two.
  • Individual factors matter: Personal risk factors for heart disease, such as family history, age, and existing health conditions, play a significant role in determining individual risk.
  • Focus on overall health: Regardless of any potential link to heart health, managing IBS symptoms and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are crucial for overall well-being. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.
If you're experiencing chest pain or discomfort, do seek immediate medical attention to determine the cause and receive proper treatment. Do not attribute it to IBS without consulting a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Prioritizing your health and seeking professional guidance is always the best course of action when experiencing concerning symptoms.


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, alterations in the diet, medication, and probiotics, it is possible to reduce or even eliminate the discomfort of IBS.

Hope this article on Symptoms of IBS Attack was useful. If you have any more ideas to share on IBS attack symptoms and its remedies do comment below.


Q: Can stress alone cause an IBS attack?

A: Stress can trigger an IBS attack, but it's not the sole cause. Other factors, such as diet and gut health, also play a significant role.

Q: Are all IBS attacks the same in intensity?

A: No, the intensity of IBS attacks can vary from person to person and even from one episode to another.

Q: How long does an average IBS attack last?

A: The duration of an IBS attack can vary, but they usually last a few hours to a few days.

Q: Can IBS symptoms change over time?

A: Yes, IBS symptoms can vary over time, and individuals may experience periods of remission and flare-ups.

Q: Are there any specific tests to diagnose IBS?

A: There is no specific test for IBS. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and ruling out other conditions. Many times a colonoscopy is performed by doctors to rule out any other gastrointestinal disorders.

Q: Is IBS a lifelong condition?

A: While there is no cure for IBS, it can be managed effectively with lifestyle changes and medications.

Q: Is IBS a life-threatening condition?

A: No, IBS itself is not life-threatening, but it can significantly affect an individual's quality of life.

Q: Can IBS be mistaken for other digestive disorders?

A: Yes, IBS symptoms can overlap with other gastrointestinal conditions, which is why seeking a proper diagnosis is essential.


Other Posts

The Mystery of Edith Bouvier Beale's Mental Health

Edith Bouvier Beale , commonly known as " Little Edie ," was an American socialite and cousin of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In this article, we explore the life of Edith Bouvier Beale, an enigmatic figure whose struggles with mental health captivated public attention. From her affluent upbringing to her seclusion in " Grey Gardens ," we delve into the complexities of Edith Bouvier Beale's mental health journey. Edith Bouvier Beale's Mental Health: What We Know (and Don't Know) In the realm of intriguing personalities, Edith Bouvier Beale stands out as a complex figure whose life was marked by both glamour and obscurity. While her name might not ring a bell for everyone, her captivating journey, marred by mental health struggles, has left an indelible mark. Let us delve into the life of Edith Bouvier Beale, exploring her early days, her rise to stardom, her decline into isolation, and the profound impact of mental health challenges on

OCD: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment, Help, Cure

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , more commonly known as  OCD , is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder and is characterized by way of persistent, undesired thought processes (obsessions) and/or repeating actions (compulsions). Obsession, in this case, is highly unpleasant as the individual is compelled to repeat certain behaviors again and again. The condition, most of the time, is anxiety-related and the  thoughts are unwanted and intrusive . Sufferers often understand that these thoughts are irrational, but by performing compulsive behavior, they believe they will be cured or will be relieved. Recurring actions such as hand washing (to avoid catching germs), counting numbers, checking things over, or cleaning are frequently carried out with the anticipation of avoiding compulsive thoughts or making them disappear altogether. This is to avoid their obsession turning into reality. OCD is a common mental condition that affects 2.5 million adults or

Health Anxiety Is Ruining My Life: How to Get Over It

Do you have a fear of diseases? Have you ever thought of a simple headache to be a brain tumor, or a slight stomach ache as an intestinal blockage? Have people ever called you crazy because of your obsession with health and hygiene? Are you gripped by a constant fear of being terminally ill? Have you ever self-diagnosed yourself by checking the symptoms online? Are you aware of the symptoms of various diseases because you constantly look them up online? Do you keep getting tests done (often by different doctors)? Is no reassurance enough to prove that you are not sick? You know that but are never satisfied. Is that you? If the answer to most of these questions is yes, you probably are a hypochondriac. But if " Health anxiety is ruining my life " is something you can relate to, this article will help you overcome it. Health Anxiety Is Ruining My Life If you're constantly worried about their health and always convinced that you are sick, then you may