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The symptoms of IBS are usually worse after eating and tend to come and go in episodes.
Most people have flare-ups of symptoms that last a few days. After this time, the symptoms usually improve, but may not disappear completely.
In some people, the symptoms seem to be triggered by something they have had to eat or drink.
Read more about IBS triggers.
The most common symptoms of IBS are:
In addition to the main symptoms described above, some people with IBS experience a number of other problems. These can include:
The symptoms of IBS can also have a significant impact on a person's day-to-day life and can have a deep psychological impact. As a result, many people with the condition have feelings of depression and anxiety.
You should see your GP if you think you have IBS symptoms, so they can try to identify the cause.
They can often do this by asking about your symptoms, although further tests are occasionally needed to rule out other conditions.
You should also visit your GP if you are feeling anxious or depressed. These problems rarely improve without treatment and could make your IBS symptoms worse.
If you have other symptoms – including unexplained weight loss, a swelling or lump in your stomach or bottom, bleeding from your bottom, or signs of anaemia – you should see your GP right away, as these can sometimes be a sign of a potentially more serious condition.
Read more about diagnosing IBS.