white toilet on pink background

Living Positively with IBS-M


Written by: CDHF

Updated: December 1st, 2022

What is IBS-M?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gut disorder that affects the lower portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the small and large intestines. There is nothing structurally wrong with the gut, but rather, there’s something wrong with how the gut moves and senses digestion. This can lead to symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits like constipation, diarrhea, or both.

Subtypes of IBS are recognized by the Rome IV criteria based on the person’s reported predominant bowel habit, when not on medications, as follows:

bristol stool chart for ibs

IBS-M (the M stands for ‘mixed’) is a subtype when a person with IBS suffers from alternating diarrhea and constipation.  Nearly everyone has suffered from diarrhea or constipation at one point or another, however, if these are constant, recurring problems, you may suffer from IBS-M. Especially, if these problems are paired with other symptoms, such as bloating, cramping and abdominal pain.

People who suffer from IBS-M can switch from constipation to diarrhea, often very quickly, and tend to suffer more stomach pain than someone who suffers from IBS-D (diarrhea) or IBS-C (constipation).

Possible Causes of IBS-M

The underlying cause of IBS is still unclear and there is no diagnostic disease markers for IBS. However, some potential factors include things like food sensitivities, a disruption in the brain-gut connection, genetics, stress, infections, or an unbalanced microbiota.

How is IBS-M Diagnosed?

Your physician will first conduct a careful review your medical history and a physical examination. Utilizing IBS diagnostic algorithms, such as the Rome Foundation’s Diagnostic Criteria for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and excluding any “red flags” suggesting other disorders, your physician will then establish a diagnosis of IBS based on your symptoms.

Doctors can make the diagnosis with a high degree of certainty, based on experience with treating IBS. Tests that may be required include to rule out other digestive conditions include: 

How is IBS-M Treated?

Often diet and lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on gut health. Getting exercise and participating in managing stress through activities such as yoga or meditation can have a huge impact on a patient’s quality of life.

Many IBS patients of all types have benefited from experimenting with a low FODMAP diet. The low FODMAP diet is one of the most well-researched diets that shows significant symptom improvement for ~50-80% of those with IBS. 1 FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that are either poorly absorbed in the intestine, or that ferment in the gut, leading to digestive distress. It involves significantly reducing intake of these carbohydrates for a short period of time, followed by strategic reintroduction to see which FODMAPs trigger which IBS symptoms. If you are thinking of trying this elimination diet, CDHF recommends working alongside a registered dietitian to help you guide you through it.

Your doctor may also recommend prescription or over the counter products if your IBS symptoms are severe and if lifestyle and dietary strategies have not helped. Typically, medications are targeted at the dominant symptom – diarrhea, constipation or pain.

Over the Counter (OTC) therapies are also available such as peppermint oil capsules, probiotics, and fibre, among other ways to manage your IBS.

Looking for a way to track your IBS symptoms? Download CDHF’s myIBS app. The app allows you to digitally journal your symptoms, poop, food, sleep, stress and more, to help you better understand and manage your IBS. 


  1. Altobelli, E., Del Negro, V., Angeletti, P. M., & Latella, G. (2017). Low-FODMAP Diet Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients9(9), 940. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9090940

Related Articles:

View all News & Articles

the low FODMAP diet and the Mediterranean diet

The Low FODMAP Mediterranean Diet Approach for IBS

armstrong trendingnow presentation

Constipation & Selecting Your Laxative: Trending Now Presentation

FODMAP Intolerances: How to choose the right digestive enzyme

stress and constipation header image

Constipation and the Gut-Brain Axis


Trick or Treating Safely with Digestive Conditions

low fodmap drink

What can you Drink on the Low FODMAP Diet?

celiac disease vs ibs webinar

IBS vs Celiac Disease Webinar

tampons, pads and menstrual cups on a pink background

Period Poop 101


IBS: What’s Dysbiosis Got to Do with It?

IBS Awareness Month

Girl looking on phone

Call for Study Participants: Using the LyfeMD application to support the management of IBS

IBS Toolkit for the Newly Diagnosed

woman holding her temples due to stress

IBS and Stress: Is There a Link?

girl on computer for Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for IBS

medications for IBS

Medications and Supplements for IBS

man looking at recipe for IBS foods to make

IBS and Diet

medical enema on blue background

What is an Enema?

Toilet paper with smiley face

Is my Poop Healthy/Normal?

high fibre foods for constipation

What to Eat When Constipated

woman laying down with hurt stomach

Why Does My Stomach Hurt?

Elderly couple cooking with fibre

Constipation in the Elderly

myIBS App Survey

Donate to the myIBS App

What Causes Constipation and How to Get Relief During the Holidays

Nutrition and diet consultation at home

CDHF Partners with NutriProCan IBS Program Designed to Relieve or Resolve IBS Symptoms

Man sitting on toilet, frustrated with IBS

What does IBS-C feel like? How do I know If I have IBS-C?

How to Treat and Manage IBS-C

Women sitting on toilet frusturated

Is Occasional Constipation Normal?

Women looking up with question marks above her head

Dysbiosis and IBS


Peppermint Fixes More Than Just Bad Breath

Women lying on pillow holding stomach in pain

Managing IBS

Toilet paper roling on a green background

Understanding IBS

Healthy foods laid out on table

Evidence Based Ways to Manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Pink suitcase with microbe background

IBS Survival Guide

Mediaplanet: Did You Know Women are 2x More Likely to Have IBS Than Men?

Couple on a date

Dating with IBS

yoga class

The Importance of Managing Stress for People who Suffer from IBS

Women pondering with question marks

Top IBS Questions: Answered!

Women shaking her head

Think You May Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Hand squeezing a grapefruit

Diets Used for IBS

Opening Frame of Constipation: Understanding Laxatives Animation

Constipation: Selecting Your Laxative Animation

How to Find Functional Foods with Added Probiotics

Women holding her stomach in the bathroom with toilet paper in her hand

Women and IBS

Women talking to another women in an office with a lot of windows

Mental Health, IBS and Removing the Stigma

Women and male bathroom stall

Managing your Digestive Health in the Workplace Webinar

How to Manage IBS Animation

CDHF Talks: IBS and the Gut Microbiome

Hands on top of other hands supporting one another

IBS, IBD & Mental Health Webinar

Beginning frame of Living with IBS Animation

Living Positively with IBS Animation

Doctors smiling and shaking hands

Understanding IBS-D Webinar

Constipation with Dr. Armstrong

Understanding Constipation

white toilet on pink background

Living Positively with IBS-M

Women looking at her clothes in her closet

Dressing with IBS and other Digestive Health Issues

Green toilet paper on a purple microbe background

Why does IBS Affect more Women than Men?

Pink pills on a blue background

Did You Know That Some Probiotics May Help With IBS?

Toilet paper with flowers

Could I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? 5 Questions to Discuss

Individually prepped meals

What I Eat in a Day with Celiac Disease & IBS

Women speaking to collegue in an office

Tool Kit for Educating your Employer on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Toilet paper rolling out with a purple background

Why is there Blood in my Stool? Rectal Bleeding

Someone counselling an individual

Long Term Benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for IBS

Man clutching stomach

How a Gut Infection can Lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

lab dishes

A New Bacterium on the Block: How Brachyspira may be a factor for IBS

purple toilet

Constipation: What to Do if You Can’t Poop

How to use CDHF’s myIBS App

Family at christmas around the table

Top Tips for Digestive Troubles

Fecal calprotectin stool test

What is the Fecal Calprotectin Test?

sign that says keep moving forward outside

My Long-Complicated Journey with my Gut and IBS-C

Writing in notebook at a desk

My Experience with IBS-C as a Registered Dietitian

Hands circling around the gut

IBS, The Microbiome and a Novel Virtual Tool

celiac vs ibs

Celiac Disease vs IBS

Couple making pasta

Managing IBS is a Pain in the Butt!

Work colleagues

IBS Doesn’t Work at Work

Women holding stomach with yellow pants

Four Ways to Prevent Constipation During Summer Travel

Women drinking wine with pink microbe background

Alcohol and IBS


Patient Experiences using IBgard to Combat Symptoms of IBS

stack of toilet paper

TRULANCE® (plecanatide tablets) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation in Adults Is now Available to Canadians

RestoraLAX bottle

RestoraLAX – CDHF Certified Product

bio-k plus shelf stable packaging on white background

Bio-K+ IBS Pro – CDHF Certified Product


Nature’s Bounty IBgard® – CDHF Certified Product