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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

People with IBS may have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Mild or severe abdominal pain, discomfort or cramping that usually goes away after a bowel movement

  • Periods of diarrhea or constipation, or alternating between these two symptoms

  • Bloating, gassiness or a feeling of having a distended abdomen

  • Mucus in bowel movements

  • Feeling as though a bowel movement is incomplete

Although the symptoms of IBS often change over time, people tend to develop their own pattern. For example, some people have mostly diarrhea, some have mostly constipation and others have abdominal pain without a major change in bowel movements.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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