The main symptom of IBS is abdominal pain or discomfort, along with a change in bowel habits. The abdominal discomfort is often eased with defecation. Some people experience constipation, others, diarrhea. Or they may alternate between the two. A sensation of gassiness or of being bloated is common.
The pain of IBS can happen after a meal, during stressful times, or when a woman has her period. People with irritable bowel frequently report symptoms of other gastrointestinal disorders, which include chest pain, heartburn, nausea, and difficulty swallowing.
The symptoms of IBS can wax and wane throughout life, but most patients are between 20 and 50 years old. Some start having problems in adolescence.
Last reviewed on 7/28/09
U.S. News's featured content providers were not involved in the selection of advertisers appearing on this website, and the placement of such advertisement in no way implies that these content providers endorse the products and services advertised. Disclaimer and a note about your health.