IBS symptoms

The major symptoms that characterize Irritable Bowel Syndrome are:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Spasms

These symptoms may be present singly or in any combination.

If you suspect you are suffering from IBS, it is critical that you have a doctor provide you with a diagnosis as soon as possible as these symptoms could easily be related to several other medical conditions that have far more serious health consequences than IBS.

IBS Diagnostic Criteria

In 1999, international digestive disease experts defined the following diagnostic criteria for IBS. They were meeting for a second time and in Rome to do so and hence they are known as theRome II Criteria for IBS.

To receive a diagnosis for IBS a sufferer must have experienced abdominal pain for at least 12 weeks (not necessarily consecutively) in the preceding 12 months with two out of three of the following features:

  • The pain is relieved by defecation
  • Onset is associated with a change in frequency of stool
  • Onset is associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.

Supporting Symptoms

Other symptoms that support the diagnosis but are not essential include:

  • Abnormal stool frequency (greater than 3 bowel movements per day or less than three bowel movements per week)
  • Abnormal stool form (lumpy, hard or loose, watery)
  • Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency or feeling of incomplete evacuation)
  • Passage of mucus
  • Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension.

Note: If blood is present in the stool or weight is being lost due to your condition then it is NOT IBS. If either or both are the case for you it is even more important that you see a doctor as soon as possible.

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