Diarrhea and abdominal
pain always on your mind?

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Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D)

Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of IBS-D, along with belly pain or discomfort. How frequent do your diarrhea episodes need to be for you to consider it more serious than an occasional stomach issue? Diarrhea that is long-lasting, and when experienced with recurring abdominal pain, may be a symptom of IBS-D.

A healthcare provider can help by suggesting dietary and lifestyle changes along with prescription medication.

Learn more about managing this condition.

What are the symptoms of IBS-D?

  • You have a sudden urge to have a bowel movement
  • You experience belly pain or abdominal discomfort
  • You have frequent stool
  • You feel bloated
  • You suffer from gas
  • You notice loose stool
  • You feel like you have not completely emptied your bowels after a movement
  • You are nauseous
Take our Toilet TalkSM quiz to identify your symptoms and prepare for your appointment with your healthcare provider.
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What are the causes of IBS-D?

Even though it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of IBS-D, experts believe that one or more factors might be responsible.

While food or stress can often trigger IBS-D symptoms, there are other possible causes:

Causes of IBS-D
What do they mean?

There’s a change in the speed of food moving
through your colon.

Your colon contracts (squeezes and releases) in order to remove waste from your body. If contractions are too fast, it can speed up the process and lead to diarrhea.

Your intestines are hypersensitive.

When your intestines are active or stretched, as food moves through them you might feel more pain than is usual. This sensitivity could also lead to changes in digestion speed.

There are communication problems between
your brain and gut.

This can lead to changes in how quickly food moves through your gut, the processes that occur along the way, and the sensations you feel as food is broken down and travels.

There are additional possible causes for IBS-D, so communicate openly and honestly with your healthcare provider to explore other factors.

Learn more about managing this condition.

What can you do
about it?

You’re not alone—as many as 16 million Americans suffer from IBS-D—and the good news is that treatment is available. Your own treatment will be based on the nature and severity of your specific symptoms.

Since people with IBS-D may experience different symptoms, it is important to share a complete picture of your personal journey with your healthcare provider.

To begin, list your symptoms with details to prepare for your appointment.

  • How often do you experience diarrhea?
  • How severe are the symptoms?
  • Are the symptoms you’re experiencing impacting or disrupting your daily life? If yes, how so?
  • Have you tried diet and exercise to help relieve your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to trigger the symptoms? For example: A type of food or stress?
  • Do you experience abdominal pain more than 3 days/month?
  • Do your symptoms keep coming back?

Also list other important details before your appointment:

  • The medications you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines (and your satisfaction level with each of these medications).
  • Big changes that have happened since your last visit, such as health conditions, changes to your diet or exercise routine, or causes of stress.
  • Any other things you’ve tried that have not worked?
    This includes prescription or non-prescription medications, changes to your eating habits (ie, avoiding trigger foods) meditation, herbal remedies, exercise routines, etc.

List any questions for your healthcare provider to make sure you cover your most pressing concerns.

Learn as much as you can about your condition so that you can take control of the conversation with your healthcare provider.

Check Your Symptoms

Download this PDF and mark what you’ve
experienced for easy reference when talking to
your healthcare provider.


IBS-D Treatment Options

Diet and lifestyle changes: Your doctor may recommend regular exercise, increasing your water intake, maintaining a proper diet, and avoiding large amounts of food.

Medication: Your doctor may also recommend trying over-the-counter and/or prescription medications to help manage IBS-D symptoms. Talk to your doctor to find the right treatment for you.

Find out about a prescription treatment for IBS-D.