Irritable Bowel: Recognize symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable Bowel: Recognize symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel: constipation and diarrhoea as common symptoms

Constipation occurs more frequently as a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. The medical term for constipation is constipation. If constipation is a so-called key symptom, i.e. it occurs particularly frequently, it is a constipation-dominant irritable bowel syndrome.

Diarrhoea is also a typical syndrome in irritable bowel syndrome. When diarrhoea is the main symptom, one also speaks of diarrhoea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome. 

Even if one of the two symptoms usually occurs more frequently, constipation and diarrhoea can also occur alternately in irritable bowel syndrome.

Back pain from irritable bowel syndrome

Back pain can also occur as part of irritable bowel syndrome. On the one hand, this is because pain from the abdomen can also radiate into the lower back area. On the other hand, painfully tense abdominal muscles can also lead to tension in the opposite back muscles.

Mucus, undigested bits of food, or blood in the stool

As diverse as the number of symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome is – undigested food residues in the stool typically do not indicate the presence of irritable bowel syndrome but can be a sign of another disease in the gastrointestinal tract.

Even blood in the stool is not one of the usual symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Tears in the anal mucosa can only occur in connection with frequent and severe constipation, which can also show up as bright red blood on the toilet paper or in the stool. Various diseases can also be behind blood in the stool. These include, for example, haemorrhoids, vascular problems in the intestine or a stomach ulcer. You can find other possible causes of blood in the stool here.

The admixture of light-coloured mucus in the stool, on the other hand, can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome.

Weight loss in irritable bowel syndrome

Even if diarrhoea, flatulence or stomach pain and the associated discomfort can temporarily lead to a lack of appetite, noticeable weight loss is not one of the typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Unintentional weight loss can be a sign of another, possibly severe illness and should be clarified by a doctor.

Bloating and flatulence as an irritable bowel symptom

Bloating is particularly common in irritable bowel syndrome. If they are the main symptom, one speaks of meteorism-dominant irritable bowel syndrome. Meteorism refers to the accumulation of gases in the intestines and stomach. This can also lead to a so-called bloated stomach, which usually occurs with flatulence. A feeling of fullness is also possible. This usually improves after a bowel movement.

Fatty stool in irritable bowel syndrome

Fatty stool (steatorrhea or pancreatic stool) is caused by increased fat excretion with the faeces. This then smells particularly strong and is light brown, voluminous and sticky. The fatty stool does not occur in irritable bowel syndrome. However, it can be triggered by other gastrointestinal tract diseases or intolerances, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.

Irritable bowel pain

If one speaks of pain in irritable bowel syndrome, one usually refers to the diffuse, i.e. locally tricky to determine, abdominal pain. These can be of varying severity and crampy. If abdominal pain occurs as the primary symptom, it is a pain-dominant irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition to abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome can also cause back pain, as already mentioned. Those affected also sometimes report simultaneous headaches, joint pain or pain during bowel movements.

Nausea as a sign of irritable bowel syndrome

Nausea is not a classic symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. Only in sporadic cases do those affected report these symptoms. If you often suffer from nausea, you should consider other causes, such as an irritable stomach, as a trigger.

Fatigue and psychological complaints in irritable bowel syndrome

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can worsen as a result of psychological stress, such as stress or anxiety. Conversely, symptoms usually improve as the stress subsides.

Depending on the frequency and severity of the symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome can also cause psychological problems. These can then manifest themselves as depressive moods, tiredness and exhaustion. If psychological symptoms persist, therapeutic advice should be sought.

Sweating as a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome

At the same time as the gastrointestinal problems, accompanying symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can sometimes occur. These include, for example, hot flashes and increased sweating.

Irritable bowel symptoms: Other diseases must be ruled out

If you suspect irritable bowel syndrome, you should seek medical advice to rule out allergies, food intolerance or other gastrointestinal tract diseases that can cause similar symptoms. Liver, pancreas or gallbladder diseases can also cause symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome.

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