Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

The main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal pain, fullness, gas and bloating that have been present for at least three days a month for the last three months. The pain and other symptoms will often be reduced or go away after a bowel movement or occur when there is a change in how often your child has bowel movements.

Symptoms range from mild to severe. Most people have mild symptoms. Symptoms are different from person to person. For some kids, the symptoms may get worse for a few weeks or a month, and then decrease for a while. For other children, symptoms are present most of the time.

People with irritable bowel syndrome may switch between constipation and diarrhea, or mostly have one or the other. People with irritable bowel syndrome may also lose their appetite.

People with diarrhea will have frequent, loose, watery stools. They will often have an urgent need to have a bowel movement, which may be hard to control.

Those with constipation will have a hard time passing stool, as well as fewer bowel movements. They will often need to strain and will feel cramps with a bowel movement. Often, they do not release any stool, or only a small amount.