Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Roughly there are 3-4 types of IBS but with our experience of treating people for more than 18 years having seen thousands of patients, we have identified there are more variants than just 3 categories of IBS. We have mentioned each one below. Let’s explore each type in detail:


1. IBS with Constipation (IBS-C):

IBS-C is characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools. Patients may experience bowel movements less frequently than normal, often fewer than three times a week. The stool tends to be hard and may require straining to pass. Despite using laxatives, patients may still experience incomplete evacuation. Other common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, and a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowels.


2. IBS with Diarrhea (IBS-D):

In IBS-D, patients experience frequent episodes of loose or watery stools. They may have an urgent need to use the restroom and may not always have control over their bowel movements. Anti-diarrheal medications may provide partial relief, but the symptoms persist. Abdominal pain, bloating, and cramps are also common symptoms associated with IBS-D.


3. Mixed IBS (IBS-M):

Mixed IBS, also known as IBS-M, is characterized by a combination of both constipation and diarrhea. Patients with IBS-M may experience alternating episodes of constipation and diarrhea. For some, constipation may be more prominent, while for others, diarrhea may be the dominant symptom. The bowel habits can vary, with some individuals having constipation in the morning and diarrhea later in the day or vice versa. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and gas are present as well.


4. IBS Constipation with Gastro-colic Reflux:

This type of IBS is characterized by constipation accompanied by gastro-colic reflux. Patients may experience frequent urges to have a bowel movement, often after meals or at random times throughout the day. Despite attempting to pass stools, they may only pass small amounts with difficulty. Laxatives may lead to looser stools and increased discomfort, sometimes resulting in more mucus in the stool. Other symptoms commonly associated with this type include bloating, gas, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation.


5. IBS Diarrhea with Gastro-colic Reflux:

In IBS with diarrhea and gastro-colic reflux, patients may have loose or semi-solid stools but not necessarily watery diarrhea. They may need to visit the restroom multiple times a day with a sense of incomplete evacuation. Some individuals may have control over their bowel movements, while others may experience urgency. Anti-diarrheal medications can sometimes lead to constipation and provide only partial relief. Abdominal pain, bloating, and other typical IBS symptoms are also present.

It’s important to note that IBS is a chronic condition that can vary in severity and symptoms from person to person. While these types help classify the different patterns of bowel habits in IBS, it’s possible for individuals to experience a mix of symptoms or transition between types over time. It is recommended to consult with our experts for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific symptoms and needs.



Bristol Stool Chart

Based on the type of IBS one has, they may experience any one or combination of the stool types shown below

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