Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include bloating, gas, abdominal cramping and pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Additional symptoms include mucus in the stool, diarrhea and constipation or alternating diarrhea and constipation. The symptoms of IBS may differ between sufferers or mimic other conditions.
Some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may be masking a more serious health problem, notes Mayo Clinic. Weight loss, abdominal pain that occurs or gets worse at night and rectal bleeding are all symptoms that should be evaluated by a health care professional right away.
Irritable bowel syndrome's cause is not completely understood by medical science, but doctors know that certain behaviors and factors act as triggers or make it more likely that IBS develops. For some people, certain foods, such as broccoli, cabbage, beans or milk, are triggers that cause the occurrence of symptoms or exacerbation of symptoms. Stress often causes symptoms to appear or worsen, as does hormones, with women more likely than men to experience symptoms, especially during their monthly menstrual cycles. Sometimes an episode of diarrhea or an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines may trigger the onset of symptoms of IBS.
In addition, IBS is sometimes more frequently seen when there are abnormalities in the nerves in the gastrointestinal system. When this happens, signals between the intestines and the brain cause the body to act abnormally to normal changes, causing constipation, diarrhea and pain.