Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Types of Bad Bellies: IBS-C vs. IBS-D

When a person suffers from IBS, there are three main ways that the bowel usually responds: constipation, and diarrhea, or alternating between the two. IBS with constipation is commonly abbreviated as IBS-C, IBS with diarrhea as IBS-D, and IBS with alternating symptoms as IBS-A. For some, this can make it easier to treat IBS, but for those who have a combination of the two, like me, it can make things even more difficult.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The below comments are based on my own research, and are only meant to be used as a guide. Consult your doctor to help identify the best treatment options for you.


Constipation can be treated with dietary changes, laxatives, and fibre supplements. As previously discussed, dietary changes can help with IBS in general, as avoiding problem foods can help improve symptoms. To help with constipation, however, it can help to add fibre-rich foods to your diet as well, and increase your intake of water. Here is a good list of foods with a high fibre content, and here is a useful guide for increasing your daily fibre intake.

Some of these foods may not be suitable for those with food intolerances though, so fibre supplements can be a good alternative. The most common forms of fibre supplements are wheat bran, corn fibre, calcium polycarbophil, and psyllium. However, keep in mind that while fibre can help with constipation, it may not help with other IBS symptoms, and taking fibre supplement too often can even worsen these symptoms.

Laxatives can be a good quick fix, but the effect is often temporary, and it is not a good for your body to use them regularly.


Diarrhea is also generally treated through dietary changes, for example avoiding fried foods, or perhaps even decreasing your fibre intake. Soluble fibre is often best for treating diarrhea because they help to slow digestion, whereas insoluble fibre tends to have more of a laxative effect.

On the other hand, diarrhea can also be treated with medications like Imodium, but it is best to discuss this with your doctor.


If you have both symptoms, it is best to speak to your doctor about the best way to manage them, as alternating between treatments for constipation and diarrhea can actually make the IBS symptoms worse.

I believe that my IBS-A is related to my UC, as diarrhea and constipation are also common symptoms of IBD. My medication seems to help with these symptoms, but I am still trying to work out how to manage my diet as well.

Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or both? Do you have any tips for managing them? Please comment below.

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