Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Types of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.

There are three main types of IBS, described by their main symptoms: diarrhoea, constipation or a mixture of the two:

  • IBS with constipation. This comes with stomach pain and discomfort, bloating, abnormally delayed or infrequent bowel movement, or lumpy/hard stool.
  • IBS with diarrhoea. This comes with stomach pain and discomfort, an urgent need to move your bowels, abnormally frequent bowel movements, or loose/watery stool.
  • IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhoea.

There are about an equal number of people in each category. There is also evidence that most people with IBS will alternate between types over time.

This makes it difficult for researchers to find a single drug treatment that will relieve all the symptoms of IBS.

Identifying the type of IBS is important for doctors to decide on a treatment.

Different medications work for IBS with constipation and for IBS with diarrhoea. Doctors will usually tailor treatment for people who have IBS with alternating symptoms.

The Core charity says the type of IBS that appears to follow gastroenteritis often leads to persistent diarrhoea.

A person's bowel movements with IBS may change over time needing an adjustment in treatment.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 04, 2016

Mind, body & soul newsletter

Looking after your
health and wellbeing.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman coughing
Home remedies for coughing
smiling baby
Causes and remedies
man holding sore neck
16 tips when you have a lot of weight to lose
mother and child
Caring for a baby with cows' milk allergy
woman holding mouth
What causes sensitive teeth?
man holding sore neck
8 signs you're headed for menopause
man holding sore neck
The best time to do everything
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
woman doing situps
7 most effective exercises
avacado on whole wheat crackers
Plenty to choose from
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver