Irritable bowel syndrome - warning signs

If you're experiencing issues with your colon, then you must read this article. We're about to tell you what are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome so you can detect it in time.
Irritable bowel syndrome - warning signs
José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli

Reviewed and approved by the doctor José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Irritable bowel syndrome is an intestinal disorder, as stated in the information obtained from the National Library of Medicine in the USA. In its advanced stages, it leads to a chronic condition that changes the intestinal rhythm and causes abdominal pain. You must be attentive to its symptoms.

In today’s article, we’ll tell you about the warning signs of this condition so you can detect it early and follow an appropriate treatment.

What’s irritable bowel syndrome


Colon issues affect more than a quarter of people and that number is rising.

This condition is part of the category labeled “functional gastrointestinal disorders,” together with constipation and indigestion.

All of these are apparent due to their chronic symptoms which often appear when the injury is already advanced and serious.

In addition, your daily habits can improve or worsen the situation.

Types of food that worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Some types of food can worsen irritable bowel syndrome, so you should avoid them. According to information obtained from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, some of the symptoms are:

  • leafy greens, legumes
  • plums
  • dairy
  • excessive amounts of citruses
  • any food that causes gas such as cabbage and beans

Research shows that this syndrome is more common in women, according to the Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology. Also, it’s not only related to food, but also to stress, nerves, and fear.

Psychological factors can also alter motility and digestive sensitivity. Therefore, you’re more likely to have intestinal problems if you’re often stressed, nervous, and worried. Other causes of colon problems are:

  • acute gastroenteritis
  • food intolerance
  • genetic factors
  • hormonal alterations

Types of food that can improve irritable bowel syndrome

Professionals advise eating meals rich in fiber and protein. The Mediterranean diet is a good example of a healthy one because it includes a lot of fish, olive oil and tomato. This, according to the Asociacion Española del Aparato Digestivo. On the other hand, foods rich in fiber and protein can always help:

  • You must also drink at least 8 cups of water a day to reduce intestinal irritation, help move food along, and avoid constipation.
  • Of course, exercise is also essential for improving intestinal activity and for reducing stress or anxiety.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

We often associate these symptoms with other conditions such as indigestion, eating too much, or a busy and stressful daily schedule.

However, you must be wary of these symptoms if they appear more than once a week and become the rule and not the exception as they could indicate you’re afflicted by irritable bowel syndrome:

1. Abdominal pain

  • Pain in the lower part of your belly that’s similar to stomach cramps. In other words, it’s sharp and oppressive.
  • Abdominal pain starts mild and then becomes intense (moderate at first and then it worsens).
  • This symptom tends to last for about 2 hours and you get relief upon having a bowel movement.
  • The beginning of this pain coincides with the urge to go to the toilet. Also with changes in the frequency of your bowel movements or with the consistency of the stool.
  • It could also be the result of the consumption of a certain type of food.

2. Issues with intestinal movement

These can appear as diarrhea or constipation, or even a combination of the two. You will also have a distended belly and a lot of gas.

As a result of these issues, you could have the feeling of an incomplete bowel movement or notice mucus in your stool.

3. Digestive problems

Frequent nausea and vomiting can be more warning signs of colon problems, as well as heartburn.

Another indicator worth keeping in mind is not feeling full after eating a meal that should’ve been satisfying.

Warning signs of colon cancer

While colon issues can be treated with a good diet and by reducing stress, you should also rule out more serious illnesses like cancer. Some symptoms of colon cancer are:



It’s definitely normal to be tired in today’s world. However, it could be a warning sign when you’re always sluggish, lethargic, and sleepy regardless of how much you sleep or what kind of activity you do during the day.

Unexplained weight loss

If you’re not on a diet and haven’t changed how you eat but are still losing weight, you may have colon issues and you should see a doctor, according to this study carried out by the Instituto de Gastroenterologia of the Havana, Cuba. Losing at least 5% of your body weight in 6 months is a sign that something is wrong.

Stool changes

The appearance of blood or changes in stool color, size, or shape is a sign that you shouldn’t ignore as stated by the Mayo Clinic in this report.

You should also watch out for these changes if you have polyps in your intestine as they could become malignant over time.

It is important to take care of your intestinal health. Now that you know the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, stay tuned for any changes. Consult your doctor if you have any of them. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.