Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Something Else?

Digestive problems can be confusing. Is it irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease? What about ulcerative colitis or Crohn's? Or a plain old ulcer or indigestion? One thing's for sure: Plenty of people have trouble with their digestive system. IBS is one of the most common disorders.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • You have frequent abdominal pain.
  • Your stomach feels bloated.
  • Having a bowel movement relieves the ache or discomfort.
  • How often you have a bowel movement has changed.
  • The stool comes out lumpy and hard, or loose and watery.
  • Having a bowel movement feels uncontrollably urgent, difficult to pass or unfinished.
  • You notice mucus in the stool.

These are the most common symptoms of IBS, though everyone's case is different- and may not indicate IBS at all, but some other digestive condition. Tell your doctor about any symptoms you have. If you do have IBS, you can find relief with lifestyle changes and medications.