IBS C/D or something else? : Hi! I was diagnosed... - IBS Network

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IBS C/D or something else?


Hi! I was diagnosed with IBS last year. I was suffering from both diarrhoea and constipation at the same time? I found the diagnosis confusing as most IBS sufferers complain of either just constipation or just diarrhoea. I know some IBS sufferers experience diarrhoea one week and constipation the next or whatever but I experience both at the same time? I cant really explain it and I don’t want to get too TMI, but i have soft stools and i have to strain basically. I don’t know, I feel abnormal. Do you think there is something wrong with me that isn’t due to IBS? I had tests from Crohn’s and Colitis and they came back negative.


26 Replies

If you have had a colonoscopy and tested negative for IBD, then the go to result is IBS. IBS is basically, a diagnosis of: there is something wrong which we can’t put down as anything else so it must be IBS

Can colonoscopy test for IBD?

It is the gold standard test for IBD (Crohn’s disease and Colitis)


IBS can cause constipation at one time and diarrhoea at another and alternate between the two? This is exactly what many people with IBS.

There is no certain explanation. It might be related to fluctuations in stool consistency whereby the delivery of small regular volumes of fluid matter into a sensitive rectum leads to the frequent and often urgent passage of small amounts of liquid stool, whereas the frequent delivery of faecal pellets elicits a frustrated urge to defaecate

Make sure you know what your triggers are and you can start to self-manage your condition.

I get this exactly the same as you, both at the same time. I get very constipated and the pains in my stomach sometimes make me severely sweat and be sick and dizzy. This will continue until I manage to go to the toilet which could take hours in which it is bad diarrhoea when I eventually can go. My doctors just keep giving me tablets to calm down IBS but it can happen to me even when I don’t eat or something I know doesn’t usually set it off..at any time basically. If you’re worried, keep pushing your doctor to do something further, you have to keep at them because a lot of the time they will just say IBS and pass you off with some tablets.. I have a health condition with my liver too so it could be completely different but don’t know if this will help! Hope you get sorted ☺️

Hi! I’ve had IBS since i was 16 years old.. now i am 20 but i have the same condition as yours. I suffer from both IBS C & D and I must say it is very frustrating . To respond to your question, I don’t know if this might be your case but I was done every test possible and came back normal. From endoscopy, to colonoscopy, to MRI scans to various other tests that my gastroenterologist recommended and all came back normal.

I think that your only solution might be to change your diet. I can’t stress enough how important it is to manage the things you eat because they are the cause of your symptoms. Once you start eating foods that do not trigger ibs and take supplements like Probiotics you’ll feel better.

This has been my life for 2 years since I had a tummy bug in 2017! When Im stressed its IBS D* and when things are calm I lean toward C. Unfortunately and fortunately I can tolerate the C as its so normal to me now but the fact that I rarely go normally is highly frustrating. Is there one you suffer mostly from?

Hi I have very similar symptoms to those you describe and had a colonoscopy 18 months ago. I was diagnosed with both IBS and significant diverticula. Presently I have a flare up and finding it difficult to control.

Yes, this can happen in IBS. I would suggest it is due to the wrong diet. The low Fodmaps diet helps with some but not others. There are things on the Fodmaps list I wouldn't dare eat, porridge being one of them. You have to find your trigger foods with exclusion diets.

Hi, I have had a colonoscopy and I am awaiting my results but I am the exact same. I have been like this for two years and I cannot remember the last time I had a normal day and felt like a normal person. I suffer with D more often than not and it makes me so awful. I have cut out lactose and other certain foods, the doctors dont really know what to do about it. Any recommendations to help prevent the sudden need to go the loo?

Hi, I don’t think this is uncommon. As you’ve had the tests, it’s unlikely that you have anything sinister going on - I assume you’ve had endoscopy, colonoscopy and perhaps CT scan? As others have suggested, it could well be down to diet. The other thing; you may be getting so stressed about your symptoms that this isn't helping. One of the main triggers for IBS is stress, so you may just wish to take a backwards step, take a deep breath and figure out a way to alleviate your worries. Although it’s Hugely more rare now, I’ve found that once I’ve gone through a period of ‘C’ that quite often I’ll have a session of ‘D’. In truth, I do feel much better after a ‘D’ session as I fully evacuate as opposed to passing pellets or nothing at all. As an aside, I do monitor my diet closely - I’m low FODMAP and I do keep my FAT intake under control (particularly saturated fats) - this really seems to help to balance my day and by drinking around 2 - 3 ltrs of fluid a day, I’m at a stage where my IBS is relatively under control. It has taken some time to get to this stage, but it was really worth the effort finding out what affects me most. I should add that I don’t eat anything 2-3 hrs prior to bed and I have taken to a 30 minute evening walk which really seems to help (I often need to go to the loo when I finish my walk), so you may wish to try that. Good luck, I do feel for you but do try to relax, don’t fret and have a think about addressing your symptoms - some of the above suggestions might help.

I agree with all that’s been said - none of it contradictory! I’d add my voice to Baenav’s on the exercise thing - I’ve always felt that exercise helps my IBS, but since lockdown began I’ve been walking 2-3 miles at least, every day and it’s helped immensely to regularise my bm’s.

Do check out all the other approaches too - it’s all good advice!

I’m the same it only started last July D first then constipation . Ended up in hospital and had all the colonoscopy endoscopy X-ray where you drink something to show up your bowel .everything came back nothing sinister . Apart from narrowing in my bowel which is loopy as well and diverticulitis . Been given laxido sachets and constella 290 . To be honest for months I ate hardly anything and lost over 2st I have good days and bad . But keep strong and keep asking doctors for help . But I find this help group helps . Just to no you are not alone . Hope you get some help to sort it x

Hi there,

I have been suffering from D and C for over 20 years and I have listened to others and we've all come to the same conclusion (which supports everything I have read here). If you want to have control of your bowels you need to have control of your diet.

First and foremost you need to drink plenty of water. Water gets the system going and cleanses the system. Without a constant stream of water the body cannot manage its basic functions and (as I like to call it) retaliates with C or D, usually C. Ironically D is also remedied with plenty of water.

2. Fruits and yoghurt. If you are in C pain usually having either a slightly watered down yoghurt (a.k.a. a yoghurt drink or lassi) calms my stomach down as yoghurt is alkali and the stomach is acidic. That's also why water is SO very good, it dilutes the acidity of your stomach especially when you are stressing out. In my case if I have a glass of water in the morning and wait an hour, I always go to the washroom like clockwork, and its not so painful nowadays.

Fruits with the peels on, e.g. pears and apples have a lot of fibre in them which helps with digestion. The only issue is (and people on the FODMAP diet know this) these fruits can cause gas which can cause a lot of pain.

3. Exercise. Exercise, basic, simple exercise, like walking after a meal (any meal) helps digestion. As such, all that trapped wind from apples and pears or maybe those beans or lentils you ate is really encouraged to get out of your system when walking/ exercising. Don't try to keep it in (I know this sounds disgusting) but if you try to prevent its release, you will be in pain, that is just not worth it. Windows open, exercise bike on, you do your thing!

4. Other diet issues. As mentioned its likely that you have key triggers; maybe gluten maybe beans, maybe milk or onions. There is a huge range of possible trigger foods, that you can cut out of your diet to see if it makes a difference. Sometime the reason that people can have something one day but not the other is because a certain combination of foods does not suit them, but on their own, the food is fine. Sometimes its the lack of exercise one day and then exercising the following day makes you better again, but you don't realise until a few days after exercising.

5. Regularity. Try to have a routine. If you eat whatever, whenever, drink whatever, whenever your body doesn't get any balance. It doesn't know when its going to get its next meal (e.g. if you stop eating because you couldn't take the pain anymore) so behave accordingly, i.e. storing as much as fat as possible because it knows it will need reserves for when you diet.

6. Other avoidance foods are oil, sugar, and spices. These three things are a nightmare for me. The 'bad' bacteria in your intestines thrives on sugar, and the fermentation process produces a tonne of painful gas. Personally I also get migraines and itchy blood. Same from the spices. Red chilli's are my nemesis, so I have the mildest of green chillies in my cooking; bullet chillies or jalapeno's. The oil sickens me and although I can't quite remember its actual effect on me right this second, other than causing/ facilitating heavy manic bleeding, I know it messes me up. I think its the sickness that prevents me having other more nutritious food.

7. Maintain a balanced diet. The food groups haven't been around for so long for no reason. Trying to maintain a healthy varied diet with a decent balanced proportion of the 5 food groups is key to a healthy body. The only one you don't really need (any this is because you get it from all the other food groups eaten) are the fats (and sugars).

Water: - nothing can beat it. Dilution juice comes in second, fruit juices third (as they have a lot of sugar and can be quite acidic, causing D (come in handy if you have C though))

Carbs - Everyone thinks these are the worst and they will lose a tonne of weight if they stop having them but most carbs also contain fibre and sugars, its the sugar stop that allows the loss of weight but I you eat in moderation this shouldn't be a problem as you need the carbs. And its better getting your carbs from wheat, rice and potatoes and having a nice happy tummy then starving yourself and at the last minute deciding you cant cope and grabbing that packet of sugary biscuits/ sugary and oily donuts or oily and salty crisps.

Fibre - (some don't include this in the food groups, but neither do they water, but both are essentials) brilliant for helping stools out but can cause bloating due to fermentation.

Protein - necessary for helping the body to grow and repair - and our stomach linings REALLY need repairing. Usually these have a lot of essential minerals such as iron. If your vitamins and minerals aren't balanced then your body will become deficient and is more likely to start rejecting foods.

Vitamins and minerals - mentioned above; essential to fight bugs and do EVERYTHING. Source: Fruits and vegetables, raw is pure = more nutrients, but cooked eases digestion.

Dairy: Full of essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, D and B12 keeping bones and teeth healthy.

Fats and sugars: As mentioned I avoid these if I can resist as you get enough by eating everything else. But this also means that when you really want that slice of chocolate cake, because you haven't had any such things in a while, you don't have that bad retaliating reaction from your body. But you should have plenty of water to ensure you and your body stays happy and don't eat the whole cake! No matter how tempting. Lol!

If you want advice on portion sizes see the website:


Btw, I'm not a professional so this is all advice from research and experience. What works for me might not work for you but I think its highly likely to help even if it doesn't resolve your issues. And I have plenty of experience of getting C at the start and a lot of D at the end. One key point with this (which actually resolved this issue for me) is not to wait to go to the washroom. Maybe you end up spending a bit longer as you didn't wait, but seriously, that pain of C is not worth the extra hour or 2 I ran around doing all my chores! and then cause of becoming raw due to C you have the sting when the D happens too! I'd also advise to wash yourself at least once a day when this is happening and sudocreme is the best to soothe the pain.

I really hope this helps and sorry for ending on such a crude note, I just thought it was important to say. Take care, stay positive and try your best!

Saraia xox

lvt18 in reply to Saraia

thank you so much for taking the time to write this!! I appreciate this so much :)

Saraia in reply to lvt18

You're very welcome. I just hope it helps. :) I know how it feels to suffer with these kinds of problems and just wish everyone could be healthy and happy. I wouldn't wish this pain on my worst enemy. I've fainted on the toilet due to weakness when I had C or D pain sometimes. Fortunately I didn't fall anywhere to cause more damage. My doctor told me to have dioralyte when my D was frequent but only for a few days at a time. It really helps me when can't eat. (Not much point in having it if you can eat normally as its purpose is to give you the salts you lose with excessive D. It is therefore better to have water if you can eat normally for this reason.).

Take care.

When oh when are they going to start testing IBS sufferas for coeliac disease also known as celiac . 1 in 4 celiacs suffered for years before diagnosed.

Saraia in reply to Edgar77

I was tested and told I don't have celiac, however then I went to a dietitian and put on the FODMAP diet and now I KNOW I cant have gluten containing products. Ironic really!

I'm not sure if everyone who replied has actually taken in what you said as what you are describing isn't alternating diarrhoea and constipation but both at the same time. Alternating diarrhoea and constipation can mean you pass a bit of hard followed by runny, but it doesn't sound like that's what you're saying happens. If you are having to strain when your stools are soft, then it's not the hardness of your stools that's making it hard to push them out, so something else must be, some kind of blockage which you are able to shift by straining and pushing. Is your doctor aware of this and do they have any explanation? I guess it might be as simple as your sphincter muscle not relaxing when you want it to, or it might be something further inside. I haven't experienced this - I think I do get some constriction in that area from my TMJD but not enough to make me need to strain when my stools are soft, only if they're on the hard side.

lvt18 in reply to Iesgobdafydd

hi, thanks for taking the time to respond! I did explain to my dr that it was constipation and diarrhoea at the same time but she seemed convinced it was IBS C/D. I’m worried I might have some kind of blockage and that is where the issue lies, but I can’t tell and with coronavirus it is difficult to make a GP appointment. I’m worried and not sure what to do.

Iesgobdafydd in reply to lvt18

Sometimes GPs are lousy at believing or taking on board what we say, if it doesn't fit into the mental script they have running. I've had that happen to me. I don't know what's best for you to do in terms of trying to see another doctor or waiting, only you can make that decision, but if your doctor's followed proper procedure then they should have already eliminated the most frightening possible causes of your IBS-like symptoms, so if your symptoms aren't getting worse and you're able to cope with them for the time being then there's a reasonable argument for waiting to see a doctor till the situation with coronavirus gets easier. You could try some of the good advice others have given for treating IBS while you wait, if you do.

If/when you do go to see a GP about this - maybe a different one since the previous one didn't really get it - it might be better to avoid using the term blockage which I used before without really thinking about it, as it seems to be used by doctors to imply the bowel being totally blocked, not just partly constricted, not just temporarily blocked with something that can be cleared by straining, but completely clogged and immovable (webmd.com/digestive-disorde...). Which is of course an emergency situation and I think might put them in the wrong mental context for responding to you appropriately.

Our GP surgery has half a dozen or more GPs in it, so if I wasn't impressed with one and want a second opinion it's usually not hard to see a different one. A lot of surgeries work like that and it's pretty obvious, but what's not so obvious and I wasn't aware of for a long time is that different GPs have different interests and if I ask the receptionist if there's a particular doctor they'd recommend me to see about a particular type of problem, they know what those interests are and can direct me to the one who's most knowledgeable about it - out of a very limited pool, of course.

I was thinking about what I'd written to you before, I do think TMJD might be one possible explanation of what you're experiencing; I don't get diarrhoea often and I don't think I have to strain at all when I do, but all the rest of the time I do have to work my muscles to get my stools moving out more than I think is normal, and I think that's because of my TMJD.

lvt18 in reply to Iesgobdafydd

thank you so much for all your help and advice, I really appreciate it. For now I’ll wait until coronavirus dies down a bit until I go to a GP, I’ll try and see a different dr!

Just wanted to clear things up. I tested negative for Crohn’s and Colitis through a blood test, not a colonoscopy or any other procedure.

Viklou in reply to lvt18

You could do with a stool test then depending on that be referred to gastro for maybe a Colonoscopy. This could take a while at the minute though

Hi I think Saraia ,has given you some great advice. Like her I’ve had IBS !! For about14-15yrs,so years of experience. There is nothing I can add that she hasn’t. I’ve had tests that I now think we’re not essential.

So the best bit of advice I could give you,so you don’t go through all my experiences,is yes stress is definitely a cause,but when things get back to normal,in my opinion the most essential tests to have are 1)Colonoscopy

2) proctorgraph 3) a simple blood test for Celiac. They should tell you all you need to know. Hopefully they will all come back negative. Good luck.

Stop stressing,and start drinking water. 😊

lvt18 in reply to Breathless76

thank you!! this has been really helpful

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