Ever feel nauseous after a bowel movement and you have irritable bowel syndrome? Could there be a connection?
“The mechanism of IBS is abnormal motility in one form or another (constipation or diarrhea); hence, after a bowel movement when the intestinal tract is contracting (perhaps in an exaggerated fashion because of IBS), nausea may set in,” says Dr. Saad Habba, MD, an attending consultant physician (gastroenterologist) at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ.
“Nausea is not a result of colon (large intestine) motility abnormality. It is a result of upper gastrointestinal tract dysfunction.
“Because IBS may affect the whole intestinal tract, it is therefore not surprising that nausea may occur.”
Symptoms Associated with IBS Besides Diarrhea, Constipation and Nausea
• Pain and cramping in the abdomen. May occur in the middle and/or lower stomach, but rarely occurs only in the upper stomach.
• Harder than normal stools but without constipation.
• Mucus in the bowel movement.
• Excess gas.
• Bloating or a little swelling of the abdomen.
• Food intolerance. What this means is that certain foods trigger or make the IBS symptoms worse. Which foods these are will vary from one person to the next.
• Poor sleep.
• Anxiety and depression. What’s interesting about these two is that they are a chicken-and-egg situation. Which comes first? Anxiety or depression can result from the disruptions that IBS causes in a person’s life.
On the other hand, anxiety or depression have been known to cause symptoms similar to IBS.
The One Symptom that Irritable Bowel Syndrome Never Causes
IBS, which is a medical condition of exclusion, never causes blood in the bowel movements.
When blood is present, it’s either red, maroon or black. If it’s black it’ll look like hot tar. If you see blood, see your doctor.
If you have nausea before a BM, and then you end up having a lot of diarrhea which immediately resolves the nausea, this may not be irritable bowel syndrome. It may be microscopic colitis – which is often misdiagnosed as IBS.
Dr. Habba pioneered the concept of IBS being a wastebasket diagnosis and collection of different entities rather than a true single medical condition. He’s been presented and published in 26 national and international medical journals and symposia.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.