What Is IBS with Constipation?

IBS-C is a subgroup of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The predominant symptom is constipation: hard stools and infrequent bowel movements. A recent study reported that 29.3% of IBS patients have IBS-C1.

Signs & Symptoms of IBS-C

  • Lower and upper abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Absence of hunger
  • Hard, uneven or clumpy stools that are difficult to release
  • Indigestion
  • Infrequent bowel release (e.g., less than twelve times a month.2)

What Causes IBS-C?

The cause of IBS-C remains unclear. Yet, studies underline the importance of gut health.

Changes in the composition of your gut bacteria (gut microbiota) can influence IBS-C3.

Pay attention to alterations in the following microbes3:

  • Lactobacilli The floral confident
  • Ruminococcus bromii-like phylotype The plant-loving bacteria
  • Bifidobacterium catenulatum – The metabolizer
  • Methanobrevibacter smithii. The single cell
  • Veillonella spp. – The negative microbe
  • Clostridiales –The anoxic friend
  • Bacteroides – The poop lover
  • Prevotella – The neutral bug

How to Stop IBS-C?

There is currently no cure for IBS-C. It is possible to reduce IBS triggers and symptoms. This will help improve bowel movements.

How to Treat IBS-C?

Researchers suggest that changes in lifestyle behaviors and food habits can have a positive impact. Increasing the amount of daily exercise and reducing consumption of coffee, alcohol, and tobacco are common recommendations for a healthy bowel.

ISB medications that can complement a healthy lifestyle have been proposed as potential treatments for IBS-C.

Common IBS-C Medications

  • Laxatives and stool softeners can stimulate bowel movements
  • Fiber supplements can promote regular evacuation
  • Most common pharmaceutical drugs are:
    • Amitiza (lubiprostone)
    • Linaclotide
    • Plecanatide
    • Bile acid modulators
    • Probiotics
    • Antispasmodics4,5 

Psychological therapies that focus on the central nervous system can modify how individuals perceive pain or discomfort and improve their daily life. Similarly, therapies that reduce IBS fatigue, anxiety, or traumas may improve brain-gut interactions and thus, IBS-C symptoms4.


  1. Oka P, Parr H, Barberio B, Black CJ, Savarino E V., Ford AC. Global prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome according to Rome III or IV criteria: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;5(10):908-917. doi:10.1016/S2468-1253(20)30217-X
  2. Holland K. IBS-C: New Treatments Deliver Promising Management. Healthline. Published 2017. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/ibs-c/new-treatments#Medications-currently-or-newly-approved-for-IBS-C
  3. Harris LR, Roberts L. Treatments for irritable bowel syndrome: Patients’ attitudes and acceptability. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008;8(1):65. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-65
  4. Lacy B, Patel N. Rome Criteria and a Diagnostic Approach to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. J Clin Med. 2017;6(11):99. doi:10.3390/jcm6110099
  5. Khatri M. Medicines That Can Ease IBS-D Symptoms. WebMD Medical Reference. Published 2020. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/ibs/ibs-d-drugs#1

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