IBS is a common condition with a whole range of possible causes.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a very common disorder that affects the large intestine. Canada has one of the highest IBS rates in the world with five million Canadians currently suffering from its painful, often disruptive symptoms.

As with constipation, everyone experiences IBS differently. In general, symptoms include:

COMMON IBS SYMPTOMS

CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHEA

Some people will get one or the other, but in some cases people have alternating bouts of both.

BLOATING

The stomach can bloat and swell up. Passing a bowel movement can partially relieve the pressure.

STOMACH CRAMPS

These are caused by spasms in the digestive tract that can result in stabbing or sharp pains in your gut. As with bloating, having a bowel movement can provide relief.

EXCESS GAS

Many people with IBS feel gassy, with even small amounts of gas causing pain.

LESS COMMON SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:

  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Lower-back pain
  • Feeling sick
  • Needing to urinate more often

Fortunately for most people, these symptoms come and go depending on what’s going on in their lives. And only a small percentage of people with IBS have severe symptoms. Some people can control their symptoms by managing their diet, lifestyle and stress. More severe symptoms can be treated with medication and counselling.