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IBS Signs and Symptoms: Is It Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Just Diarrhea — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 2, 2009 at 1:03 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

IBS Signs and Symptoms: Is It Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Just Diarrhea


Adults and children can have bouts of diarrhea several times per year. We're sometimes quick to blame these incidents on "something we ate". Consistently dealing with diarrhea, however, may signal that there may be more to it than an occasional inconvenience. It may be Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Men and women who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome experience diarrhea as well as other symptoms. How do you know the difference between IBS and "routine" diarrhea? The following article will help you make a discernment. Here are some facts about IBS that you may not know…

  • Men are less likely than women to suffer from IBS.
  • IBS is affecting approximately one out of every five Americans.
  • Roughly half of all IBS patients began to show symptoms before the age of 35.

Is it Diarrhea or IBS?

Chronic, or intermittent, diarrhea can be a result of bacterial infections (such as E-Coli, Clostridium difficile, or Salmonella entertains), viral infections (rotavirus, or HIV for example), or parasites (for instance Giardia lamblia, or Cryptosporidium parvum). Persons may also have diarrhea for reasons that are not due to an infection. Some of these reason would include travel, food allergies or additives, diabetes, Crohn's disease, colitis, or antibiotics. Sometimes the cause of diarrhea is not known. Diarrhea that is the result of an infection is contagious. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, on the other hand, is not contagious. In addition to the bouts of diarrhea, there are other symptoms that accompany this functional disorder.

  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen (intensity can vary from mild to extreme).
  • Gas or bloating
  • Diarrhea (may be worse when you first wake up or after eating)
  • Constipation
  • Urgent need to use the bathroom
  • Mucus present in the stools

Individuals have different degrees of the above symptoms, which can vary from mild to disabling. Also, the diarrhea and constipation may alternate. Women may find that the symptoms of IBS are much worse when they are menstruating. Stress as well as certain foods may cause the symptoms to intensify. IBS symptoms usually don't involve a fever, vomiting, weight loss, or blood in the stools. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your physician should be consulted.

Course of Action

Whether you call it spastic colon, mucous colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, the disorder can be painful, embarrassing, and life-changing to experience. It's much more complex than a case of diarrhea. If you have not been diagnosed with IBS, but are experiencing the symptoms, it's very important to have a doctor make the final determination. Once you receive a diagnosis, you can begin to find ways to control the symptoms.

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