The most common complaints of IBS sufferers are bloating, abdominal pains (especially on the left side, and especially after eating), excess wind, diarrhoea or constipation (sometimes alternating between the two), difficulty with opening the bowel, feeling nausea when opening the bowels and frequent occasions of needing to go to the toilet with very short notice.
IBS seems to flare up when sufferers are undergoing other stress in their lives. Some people have worse symptoms in response to certain foods or drink, others will find that the IBS always flares up when another health problem (such as a rash or migraine) is present. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise are thought to help prevent IBS.
With medical treatment, IBS is sometimes curable, but other times the sufferer has to learn to live with the condition to some extent.