Most of us have experienced some mild gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort, such as gas, pain in the lower stomach, bloating and constipation or diarrhoea.
When it comes to the last two, it might be as a result of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
IBS, a chronic gastrointestinal disorder, results in unexplained abdominal discomfort and pain. The condition also causes changes in bowel habit and consistency.
IBS that causes increased diarrhoea is often called IBS-D.
When does occasional diarrhoea cross over into IBS territory?
IBS, like most syndromes, is a diagnosis that consists of a list of symptoms. Currently, there is no test that tells you if you have IBS-D or any sort of IBS for that matter. Instead, your doctor will look at your health history and symptoms.
These are the typical symptoms of IBS that could be accompanying your diarrhoea:
- Erratic bowel habits
- Unexpected urges to have bowel movements
- Abdominal pain
- Loose stool
- Inability to completely empty bowels
- Frequent nausea
However, do not panic if you experience any of these symptoms as it does not necessarily mean you have IBS-D. You should, however, head to your doctor if any of these symptoms persist for more than a month.
If you have any other symptoms, like rectal bleeding, rapid weight loss or a family history of gastrointestinal cancer, your doctor may prescribe tests to rule out other possibilities.