As a functional gastrointestinal disorder, IBS is caused by disruptions in the way that your brain and your gut interact with one another, which can cause frequent changes in your bowel movements.

While IBS is often talked about as a ‘’one size fits all’’, it’s actually more of an umbrella term for a number of different symptoms, and for the purposes of getting treatment, IBS can actually be divided into 4 different types.

So in this post I’ll explain the 4 types of IBS and help you to understand which one you have.

(To explore more videos on IBS and digestive health, head on over to The Calm and Happy Gut YouTube channel)

IBS Type One: IBS-C

So the first type of IBS is IBS-C which means constipation is your most dominant symptom and is characterised by:

  • stomach pain
  • bloating
  • infrequent bowel movements
  • hard stools which can also be painful to pass
  • feel as though you need to strain a lot

You may also experience a feeling of blockage in the anus or rectum, and a sense that you haven’t gone completely. For your IBS to be diagnosed as IBS-C, at least 25% of your stools are hard and lumpy, and fewer than 25% are loose in consistency.

IBS Type Two: IBS-D

The second type is IBS -D, which means diarrhoea is your most dominant symptom and comes with an urgent need to empty your bowels. If you have IBS D, you will likely feel as though:

  • you need to go to the toilet more frequently
  • find that your stools are loose and watery

For an IBS D classification, it requires more than 25% of your stools to be loose and less than 25% hard and lumpy.

IBS Type Three: IBS-M

Now the third type of IBS is IBS M, where the M stands for Mixed. And this means that your bowel symptoms aren’t consistent, and you experience constipation AND diarrhoea. Also called IBS A, you may experience stool and bowel habit changes weekly or even daily

For an IBS-M diagnosis, stools must be both hard and loose at least 25% of the time.

IBS Type Four: IBS-C

And finally, there is IBS U, which stands for IBS Unclassified. This subtype combines symptoms, not fitting IBS C, D, or M categories, making it harder to define.

What’s your IBS Type?

So you know the 4 IBS subtypes, what is your subtype? Are you IBS C, D, M or U?

Now it’s also worth me mentioning here that there are an additional two subtypes with IBS. The first occurs after an infection, which is known as post-infectious IBS, and the second occurs after a disease of the GI tract which is known as post-diverticulitis IBS.

Now as always remember to get your symptoms looked by a doctor if you haven’t yet been given an IBS diagnosis. IBS symptoms can also result from conditions like colitis and Crohn’s disease, complicating diagnosis.

And if you want to learn more about the differences between IBD and IBS, then make sure you check out this post: How to Tell if You Have IBS or IBD? What You Need to Know.

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