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What kind of pain is associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, which are related to the colon, include abdominal pain or discomfort associated with disturbance of bowel function -- diarrhea, constipation or alternation between diarrhea and constipation.

If you have experienced abdominal discomfort or pain for at least 12 weeks (not necessarily consecutive weeks) in the last year, and if your discomfort or pain is accompanied by two or more of the following features, then you may have IBS:
  • Your pain or discomfort is relieved after you have a bowel movement
  • When your pain starts, you have a change in your usual number of bowel movements (either more or fewer)
  • When your pain or discomfort starts, you have either softer or harder stools than usual
Other symptoms of IBS may include:
  • Abnormal bowel frequency (more than three per day or less than three per week)
  • Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool)
  • Abnormal stool passage, such as straining, urgency or the feeling that you have not completely emptied your rectum after a bowel movement
  • Passage of mucus in or on the stool
  • Abdominal bloating, distention or swelling
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.