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Readers Respond: What Does Your IBS Pain Feel Like?

Responses: 134


Updated October 11, 2012

Everyone experiences IBS pain differently. Describe for us what IBS pain feels like to you. Descriptive phrases that really capture the pain experience can be useful as a starting point for guided imagery for pain relief. Share your experiences and find out what IBS pain feels like to other people.

Share Your Experience

My ibs feels like....

Contraction pains!!!!! It's very similar... A building wave of intense squeezing pain and it lasts for a long time .... I always feel desperate to stop the pain.
—Guest Hurtin jo

My IBS Pain Feels Like

Contractions too!! I describe it as contractions, and the bundle of joy is the RELIEF, I get once it is over!
—Guest Need Relief

IBS pain feels like

CONTRACTIONS for sure! Thoughts of wanting a epidural go through my head when it hits. INTENSE cramping in waves, hours of labor and finally it is OVER!
—Guest Make it go away

living hell

hi Ive had ibs for about 13yr but its been getting worse as yrs has passed been for camera up showed nothing n all dr says is its ibs am unwell 24/7 i have the runs most of the time and suffer from anxiety cause of it which stops me leaving house cos am scared i wont make the toilet in time it has ruined my life. theres a lot of food i cant eat cos it sets my ibs off spice,msg,veg ect n been getting that tight knotting pain in left side which feels like someone is twisting bowel over n over no ibs tablets work they are a load of crap does any1 no how i can get rid of that pain please been really ill today with it my immune system is low with my ibs n catch everything thats going around

Cramps are a nightmare

I was recently diagnosed and at least I know there really is a reason I have had this pain for some time. The cramps are so bad I feel like I am in labor again. I just got done crying from a bout of cramps and the inevitable diareaha. Dairy and gluten are horrible foods. I made the mistake today and the horrid gurgling sound signals I am in for more pain. I was just doubled over wishing it would stop. Oh, and the bloating. Sometimes no matter what I seem to eat, I get bloated. The bloat is so bad I look slim in the morning and 4 months pregnant after breakfast. Sometimes I feel nauseous and then other times the EXCRUCIATING pain. My labor of 2 children was not as bad. I just lay down or sit grabbing what I can to brace for the pain. Then I sweat and get so tired like I just gave birth with nothing to show for it. The burping is so embarrassing, but I can't help it. Sometimes burping doesn't even help,; I still will feel bloated with a hard stomach. Stay strong friends.
—Guest melani


It is the most uncomfortable you have ever had, cramping, diarrhea, constipation. Bloated. There is a new pill called lizapena it really helps not sure if I have it spelled correctly Really good and helps. Exercise and food changes. I have had for 15 years and no medication. I do it naturally but thinking of the new pill that. Has come out. Great reviews
—Guest linda Andetson

What ibs feels like to me

I feel as if I have been socked very hard in my upper abdomen, so very painful I can't walk upright and end up a lot in the Er room
—Guest Christine

worst pain ive ever felt

Every once in a while (can't pinpoint a certain type of food that triggers it) i get these extremely painful contractions that feels like someone is grabbing my intestines and squeezing them as hard as they can. I get sweats, chills, dizziness and sometimes vomiting until several pains and gurgles later i have diarrhea. These are by far the worst pains ive ever had (even more painful than my twin pregnancy and c-section/recovery). Sometimes i will get them weekly and others monthly or every couple of months. I haven't been able to pinpoint a certain food doing it because ill be fine one time and not the next. I dont want to deal with this again (just literally had one), let alone for the rest of my life.
—Guest kayla

Sharp Pains HOURLY

Mine started 3 years ago, it started off as sharp stabbing pains low near my ovaries, near ovulation And was diagnosed as ovulation pain, then drs discovered I was pregnant and thought it was an ectopic pregnancy so done emergency surgery to have a detailed look but found nothing, it turned out as a miscarriage not an ectopic. I have it every single day all day long, I have 3 children and this pain is unbearable, I have been rushed to hospital by ambulance over 80 times in 1year until I gathered myself that it could be ibs, no dr has diagnosed it and the drs from our digestive diseases department sent me to gynaecology saying its gynaecological and after 2 more laparoscopies they've finally said it's not any gynaecological problems And must be my bowels which is very frustrating for me, I now have no trust in any health professionals and I'm on antidepressants And anti anxiety medications AND strong strong painkillers while breastfeeding (which drs said is safe and my baby is fine)
—Guest Teezarh

My IBS symptoms

My IBS pains feel like I'm being stabbed through my vagina. I get cramplike contractions so severe sometimes that I have to brace myself! As fast as the cramps approach they disappear!
—Guest Denise

upper middle stomach hurt

For years the middle of my stomach near my chest hurts so badly as if I have a huge stone blocking the airway. Now it's like that even when I way up. I had several test done and no one seems to know what is the problem! HELP!
—Guest Fran


(continued) And for me, I mainly experience the painful gas and bloating part of IBS. I don't have constipation or diarrhea that often. Although I do have many bowel movements during the day if I'm at home for most of it. Many times if I'm at home I will eat something and then 20 minutes later I will need to go to the toilet. I notice that if I drink soda I'll have gas pains later in the night. So if I want to drink soda I stir all of the bubbles out but even then I still get gas pain sometimes. I haven't been formally diagnosed with IBS but I think it fits my symptoms.
—Guest Isis

A spiked balloon in my stomach

I've had IBS symptoms since I was 14. I started getting very bad gas pain and abdominal bloating when I started wearing tight jeans that went up to a little below my waist. Sitting in class wearing jeans that were tight around my stomach always resulted in extreme pain most days. If I wake up early I usually have gas pains, I think it's because I can't defecate so early in the morning. I also get gas pains if I'm awake late past 4am. Since I finished school a while ago I don't get gas pains as often. But when I do it's miserable and Gas-X does not even help. The pain mostly in the middle of my abdomen but I feel it all throughout my torso. Even if I'm hungry, the bloating in my stomach feels like a balloon. I lose my appetite and feel nauseous, and sometimes when I have gas I try to burp and it feels like acid reflux. Lying down and pushing my stomach downwards helps some. But the only thing that usually cures it is to get a full night's sleep. Stress definitely makes it worse too.
—Guest Isis

Some helpful tips

The pain I've had with my IBS (which was officially diagnosed) is like a tight pressure from gas, and at times a shooting rectal pain, which is relieved by having a bowel movement. Things get bad for me around my period, causing nausea and crampiness and diarrhea. And I switch between diarrhea and constipation- fun. So here's what helps me, and what I imagine will help lots of you. Elimination Diet. Stop eating/ drinking these things and see if you have improvement: Alcohol, Caffeine, Processed foods, specifically those containing MSG in its various forms, Cabbage, Broccoli, Onions. I imagine many of you will see a great instant improvement in your symptoms by ridding your body of foods like these, which really aren't good for anyone. Next, try reducing anxiety. Distract yourself, put on a movie, call a friend, read a book. Pray. Stress is a serious problem for IBS sufferers. Also, take some books out from the library on IBS, and figure out what's normal. God bless!
—Guest Clara

Agree with 'Ugly Truth'

This is exactly what happens to me! My triggers are dairy, preservatives, and corn syrup. I also have gotten a rash on my stomach. I've only found 1 doctor who understands/believes that preservatives are a problem. What's with that? Recently, I've had symptoms after eating Perdue chicken. It has happened a few times, so that's off my list of what I can eat.
—Guest Carol

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What Does Your IBS Pain Feel Like?

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