Symptoms
of IBS

The symptoms of IBS vary from one person to another, but if you’ve been experiencing any of the following symptoms for at least six months, you could be suffering from IBS:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort - IBS pain is often described as ‘stabbing’, ‘sharp’ and ‘intense’ (not a ‘burning’ sensation like indigestion or heartburn) and it’s caused by spasms in your digestive tract.
  • Bloating or swelling of your abdomen - some IBS sufferers say the abdominal bloating caused by IBS can even make them ‘look pregnant’ or affect what clothes they wear.
  • Changes in your bowel habits – a change in what's normal for you to either constipation or diarrhoea and sometimes alternating between the two.

If that sounds like you, we’d advise you first to seek advice from your doctor who will talk through your symptoms in more detail. You could even print out the report from the Symptom Checker and take it with you as a reminder. You might also want to check our list of other symptoms to see if any of these sound familiar?

Important

  • Have you been losing weight, lost your appetite, suffered with a fever or sweats, or suffered from a bloated abdomen for more than six weeks?
  • Have you noticed any bleeding from your bottom?

If so, it’s important that you consult your doctor.

Other Symptoms of IBS

There are other symptoms that could also indicate you’re suffering from IBS, from mildly irritating to downright uncomfortable and distressing.

These include:

  • Embarrassing rumbling noises and excessive wind
  • Discomfort and pain relieved by going to the toilet
  • Passing mucus from your bottom
  • Belching
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Feeling sick
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Back ache
  • Needing to pass urine more frequently or urgently
  • Anxiety and depression

Everyone's different and it's all about finding something that works for you...

Help with your GP Appointment

Download the cue card for your GP appointment.

Download PDF

What's next?

Ask Dr Dawn

Find out more

Causes of IBS

Find out more

Symptom checker

Find out more