Gastro Health

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Written by Dr. Mahmoud Abdallah Elashkar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.


Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disturbance of colonic motility without organic causes. IBS is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits.


Unknown, but psychological disturbance plays a role.


IBS is known to have a long history with long interval period. The symptoms include abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, abdominal distention and others.

1) Abdominal Pain:

  • Recurrent abdominal pain over any part of the colon, but more common in left abdominal quadrant.
  • Diffuse and cramping pain with no radiation.
  • The pain will increase with food and improve by defecation.
  • Some women with irritable bowel syndrome notice an association between pain episodes and their menstrual cycle.

2) Changes in Bowel Habits:

There are changes in bowel habits overlap between constipation and diarrhea, but constipation is more common.

3) Abdominal Distention:

It includes bloating, gas and belching.

4) Other Symptoms:

  • Patient with IBS often complains of anxiety, depression and tension headache.
  • Dyspepsia, heartburn, nausea and vomiting are also common.
  • Comorbid conditions include fibromyalgia and stressor-related symptoms.


IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, so after exclusion of diseases that share with IBS in the symptoms, we should look for Rome criteria III. The criteria requires that patients should have had recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort for at least three days per month during the previous three months that is associated with two or more of the following:

  1. Relieved by defecation.
  2. Onset associated with a change in stool frequency.
  3. Onset associated with a change in stool form or appearance.

The supporting symptoms include altered stool frequency, altered stool form, altered stool passage (straining or urgency), mucorrhea and abdominal bloating or subjective distention.

Tips About IBS:

Some tips about IBS that make you understand your symptoms are as follows:

  1. Remember, it is a chronic disease.
  2. Not associated with weight loss.
  3. Not associated with steatorrhea or greasy, fatty stool.
  4. Not associated with bloody diarrhea.


  • Diet: high fiber diet improves the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Avoid Legume.
  • Avoid coffee, tea and smoking.
  • Antispasmodics such as Peppermint oil, Pinaverium, Trimebutine, Cimetropium or Dicyclomine.
  • Antidiarrheal such as Diphenoxylate and Loperamide (Imodium).
  • Antianxiety drugs like Diazepam (Valium), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Clonazepam (Klonopin) belong to this class of drugs. Antianxiety drugs are occasionally prescribed for people with short-term anxiety that is worsening their irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. However, these drugs should only be taken for a short period of time since they can be addictive.
  • Tegaserod (Zelmac) activates serotonin receptor in the GIT (gastrointestinal tract).

To know more about irritable bowel syndrome consult an irritable bowel syndrome specialist online -->

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



Do you have a question on Ibs or Diarrhea?
* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Related Questions & Answers

Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea (AAD)
Article Overview: Antibiotics cause diarrhea due to infection by antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile, Candida albicans, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens type A, Klebsiella oxytoca, etc. CDAD (Clostridium difficile-associated disease) is responsible for 15 to 25 % of cases of AAD.  Read Article »
Dr. Geethu Thomas
Medical Gastroenterologist

The consequences of long-term antibiotic administration are diarrhea, antibiotic resistance, impaired immunity, increased cost of treatment, organ failures and deaths and reduction in beneficial phytoestrogens. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is unexplained diarrhea associated with the use of ...  Read Article »
I have IBS and seems to be related to SIBO. Please advise management.
Query: Hi doctor, I realize I have IBS symptoms and they seem to be related to SIBO. I need your advice on how to treat it effectively. Here are some symptoms and test results. Leaky gut or intestinal permeability with multiple food intolerances. Seems to have hydrogen sulfide based SIBO, severe farting...  Read Full »
Dr. Sultan Zeb Khan
Medical Gastroenterologist

Answer: Hi, Welcome to The best is to avoid eating foods that cause trouble. Secondly, for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), it is better to use a combination of Tetracyclines plus Metronidazole for two weeks. Effective probiotic will also help. Take the following medications: 1. Ta...  Read Full »
Does constipation cause burning sensation in anus?
Query: Hi doctor, I have a burning sensation in anus after bowel movements for past one week. There is no blood discharge and poop was soft. I avoid eating spicy foods. The burning sensation lasts for hours.  Read Full »
Dr. Akant Kaushal
General Practitioner

Answer: Hello, Welcome to The most common cause of burning sensation in anus following stools will be the consumption of spicy food. Another cause can be constipation, which can cause fissures around the anus. If this is the condition, apply Diltiazem gel 2 % three to four times a day for se...  Read Full »
Can constipation be related to high sugar levels?
Query: Hello doctor, I am a 53-year-old female. I had gestational diabetes and 11 years later my sugar levels were high so started taking Glycomet. However, the fasting sugar level in the morning is always high and PP is less than fasting. Recent HbA1c is 6.9. Do I have to continue medicine? I walk daily ...  Read Full »
Dr. Mahmoud Ahmed Abelrahman Abouibrahim
Internal Medicine Physician

Answer: Hi, Welcome to Diabetes is not curable but controllable. The first line in the management of type 2 diabetes is lifestyle modifications. Fasting should not be higher than 110, postprandial should not be higher than 140, and HbA1c should not be higher than 7.5. My advice: Healthy di...  Read Full »
Why am I having diarrhea following constipation for a long time?
Query: Hi doctor, I am having a slightly upset stomach with bloating for the past four months. I thought I had a bug. Two weeks later, it seemed much better. However, my bowel movements did not return to normal. I had mostly constipation for about a month (even though my stomach did not feel as upset anym...  Read Full »
Dr. Anshul Varshney
Internal Medicine Physician

Answer: Hi, Welcome to Your history fits into the acid peptic disease. I do not find any sign of cancer over here (attachment removed to protect patient identity). I would recommend you the following. A combination of Pantoprazole and Domperidone once daily for a few days. A good probiotic, t...  Read Full »

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Related Tags