What are the symptoms of IBS?

IBS symptoms include recurrent abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. To meet the definition of IBS, the pain should be associated with at least two of the following three symptoms:
• onset associated with bowel movements that occur more or less often than usual
• onset associated with with stool that appears looser and more watery or harder and more lumpy than usual
• improve with a bowel movement

Other IBS symptoms may include:

• diarrhea—having loose, watery stools three or more times a day and feeling urgency to have a bowel movement
• constipation—having hard, dry stools; three or fewer bowel movements in a week; or straining to have a bowel movement
• feeling that a bowel movement is incomplete
• passing mucus, a clear liquid made by the intestines that coats and protects tissues in the gastrointestinal tract
• abdominal bloating

Symptoms may often occur after eating a meal. To meet the definition of IBS, symptoms must occur at least once a week for the past three months, with total duration of symptoms at least six months. Our food allergy patch testing may be worthwhile for you if you meet the diagnostic criteria for IBS or if you have just some of the symptoms listed here.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse