Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the gut in many various ways. Some of the symptoms associated with IBS may even be contradictory.
How can one syndrome show opposite consequences on the body? The two most common versions of IBS, the C and the D can’t be more different.
IBS-C gives constipation when IBS-D can be the origin of diarrhea.
Most people with IBS suffer from one version of the two. But is it possible to be affected by the two kinds of this syndrome?
It is not uncommon to encounter people who alternate periods of constipation and diarrhea.
Check with a professional
Those changes should be referred to your doctor or dietician as soon as possible to check with him what changed on your diet that has turned one IBS to the other.
Sometimes, just getting a specialist looking into your menu may help. But it is not always the case.
IBS-M, the mixed one
Many people with IBS suffer from a variant of the syndrome called IBS-M (M standing for Mixed IBS) that alternated constipation, with lumpy and hard stools, and diarrhea, with watery and loose stools. Each of them represent 25% of the bowel movements. Of course, to ensure that the data is correct no medication, such as antidiarrheals or laxatives, must have been taken.
This kind of IBS that alternates the two sides of the syndrome is a reflection of how IBS generally works. The way IBS functions depends largely on the person it affects. Each patient has a specific “relation” to the condition and the subtypes that includes the IBS-M version is particularly subject to variability.
How does IBS-M work?
For people suffering from IBS-M the symptoms are quite normal as they are similar to IBS-C. Constipation is the way the syndrome manifests itself in many cases. A sensation of incomplete bowel movement, difficulties to go to the bathroom are the signs of IBS-C, but with IBS-M a need to run to the bathroom is also met. The two episodes alternate instinctively and this situation can lead to major discomforts, not knowing how your bowels will react each time of the day.
The reasons can be found in the intestinal microbiota that keeps being unbalanced and varies largely one day after another.
Is it constipation or diarrhea?
But the problem could also be in the way we define constipation and diarrhea.
If you ask a doctor, his definition of diarrhea will be of frequent lower abdominal cramping followed by loose stools. When it comes to constipation, it will be defined by your physicians as hard pellet-shaped stools.
The problem is that most people don’t see constipation as this. They call constipation anytime they feel like they want to have bowel movement but are not able to, or that they don’t feel that they didn’t finish or that they are not frequent enough, and when they try, they need to push too hard.
Be sure that you and your doctor have the same definition, because you may think you have IBS-M when you are just not aware that your condition is different.
Fecal impaction with overflow diarrhea
In some cases a amount of hard stool is stuck in the rectum that causes liquid to form as the rectum gets bigger. This is called “fecal impaction with overflow diarrhea. This can be met in IBS type C and can then be misinterpreted as a case of IBS-M. Taking anti-diarrheal treatment could worsen the situation.
Having IBS-C, IBS-D or IBS-M is a matter of getting a good diagnosis and being able to clearly define your condition with your doctor.
When it comes to IBS-M, studies haven’t been thoroughly pursued and more data need to be gathered.
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