Updated 16 August 2018

Symptoms of IBS

IBS is difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms overlap with other gastrointestinal diseases.

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be categorised as follows:

Colonic symptoms (most common)

  • Diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain and heartburn
  • Straining and urgency at defecation and incomplete evacuation
  • Mucus in the stool 

Non-colonic symptoms

  • Psychosocial distress (anxiety, depression and/or stress)
  • Lethargy
  • Backache and headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea 

Typically, people with IBS would get up in the morning feeling fine, but as the day progresses, the bloating, pain and/or discomfort will start and intensify.

This can affect the person’s quality of life, both professionally and socially. 

Read more:
Causes of IBS

Reviewed by Kim Hofmann, registered dietitian, BSc Medical (Honours) Nutrition and Dietetics, BSc (Honours) Psychology. January 2018.


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