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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can irritable bowel syndrome include both diarrhea and constipation?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2

    Thanks

    Rebecca Hay

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Rebecca has been working as a clinical dietitian and sports dietitian for many years. Rebecca has a particular interest in irritable bowel syndrome, weight loss, … View Profile

    Yes both constipatoin and diarrhoea can be symptoms of IBS.  Most people with IBS experience a wide range of symptoms including: bloating, nausea, excessive wind, abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits among a few. It is not uncommon to have loose bowel motions one day and be constipated the next. It is worth having your doctor check your symptoms to rule out other conditions, such as coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Jon Gamble

    Naturopath

    Jon is author of ‘Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ and “Obstacles to Cure: Toxicity, Deficiency & Infection” - two books for CAM practitioners. He specialises … View Profile

    there are 4 agreed types of IBS: constipation dominant; diarrhoea dominant; post-infective; and constipation alternating with diarrhoea, the last being the most common of them all

  • 1

    Agree

    1

    Thanks

    Ashleigh Jones

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    IBS can absolutely include both constipation and diarrhoea, and this something I see quite frequently in my practice.  As Rebecca said it is worth having some investigations performed by your GP to rule out anything more sinister, but following this I would recommend booking in with a dietitian who is experienced in IBS management to develop a tailored diet plan that helps manage your symptoms.

    All the best,

    Ashleigh Jones
    Accredited Practising Dietitian

  • 1

    Thanks

    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) include pain or discomfort in your abdomen (the area between your chest and hips) and changes in your bowel habits. The pain or discomfort of IBS may start when you have bowel movements more or less often than usual, or when your stool appears looser and more watery or harder and more lumpy than usual. The pain may go away after a bowel movement.
    The changes in bowel habits with IBS may be diarrhoea, constipation, or both.
    Symptoms of diarrhoea are passing stools three or more times a day, or having loose, watery stools, or feeling an urgent need to have a bowel movement.
    Symptoms of constipation are passing three or fewer stools in a week, and having hard, dry stools causing straining to have a bowel movement.
    Some people with IBS have only diarrhoea or only constipation. Some people have symptoms of both diarrhoea and constipation or have diarrhoea sometimes and constipation other times. People often have symptoms after eating a meal.
    Other symptoms of IBS are whitish mucous which is a clear liquid made by the intestines in the stool, a swollen or bloated abdomen, or the feeling that you haven’t finished a bowel movement.
    Women with IBS often have more symptoms during their menstrual periods.
    IBS is a chronic disorder, meaning it lasts a long time, often years. However, the symptoms may come and go.
    While IBS can be painful, it doesn’t lead to other health problems or damage the GI tract.

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