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What is alternating irritable bowel syndrome (A-IBS)?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Alternating irritable bowel syndrome (A-IBS) is the most common IBS symptom pattern, which is present in about 50 percent of cases. The bowel pattern is irregular and alternates between diarrhea and constipation. For example, there may be no bowel movements for several days and then diarrhea throughout a day. Stool character and consistency may be very erratic: thin pencillike and ribbon-like stool may occur intermittently as spasm in the sigmoid colon narrows and molds the stool diameter. This can also cause the stool to look like the pellets that rabbits pass -- what doctors call "scybalous" stools.
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.