“The main difference between menstrual cramps and IBS cramps would be the timing,” begins Dr. Wu. “Menstrual cramps usually occur a few days before onset of menstruation, whereas IBS cramps can occur at any time, especially in the mornings, after eating, or in times of stress/anxiety. IBS cramps can often be relieved by having a bowel movement. Menstrual cramps tend to be lower in the pelvis and not necessarily relieved with defecation. It tends to resolve after the menstrual cycle is completed.”
“Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by chronic abdominal pain, and associated with changes in stool frequency or consistency (e.g., diarrhea or constipation) in the absence of any physical cause that is detectable by our current medical investigations,” explains Dr. Wu. “The pain is usually relieved or ameliorated with a bowel movement.”
Is there a way a woman can tell if the cramps she feels are IBS related or from PMS or mid-cycle cramping?