10 symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition that affects up to 7 – 24% of the world’s population depending on the sources in literature. Basically it affects a lot of people and is very common. Statistics show that up to 12% of patients in primary medical care complain about symptoms related to IBS. Among patients seen in gastroenterology clinics, those with IBS are the largest subgroup.

There is a growing body of evidence that points out the significance of the brain-gut connection. It seems our guts can trigger not only feelings of anger when hungry (“hangry”) but also have the potential to shape our immune system, behavior, and overall health. Unfortunately, when it comes to IBS, there are a lot more unanswered questions than answered about its pathophysiology.

Regarding the symptoms, patient’s may experience just one or two of them, whilst their severity and number may vary over time.

1. Constipation

While some patients with IBS suffer diarrhea predominantly, others suffer from constipation. Also, there is a third group called “mixed IBS” referring to periods of constipation followed by periods of diarrhea.

Constipation relates to a condition of irregular bowel movement. Besides the irregularity, the stool is often very dry and hard. Bristol Stool Scale (BSC) is an internationally recognized scale for describing different types of stools. According to the scale, constipation is characterized by a dry lumpy stool, or separate hard lumps that pass hard (types of 1 and 2 on BSC).  Keep in mind that there is no “recommended frequency of bowel movement”. Different people have different bowel movement rhythm. Most people have movements once a day, while for some, it is every other day and for others, it is every three or four days. The frequency also depends on the amount of food taken. The key word here is “irregular” and “lumpy, dry stool”.

More symptoms on next page…

About Dr Alex Grbovic 13 Articles
Dr Aleksandar Grbović is a medical doctor from the Belgrade University, Faculty of Medicine. He is passionate about promoting medicine by bridging the gap between the patient’s and doctor’s point of view. Currently working in the biggest Occupational Medicine Institute in Serbia and attending the Radiology residency program.


The content of this website is not intended to be taken as a replacement for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor, dietician, nutritionist or fitness instructor. If you experience any medical symptoms you should consult your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.