Your symptoms could be due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but there is no way to tell without some testing. IBS is a condition where normal movement and action of your gastrointestinal tract causes pain and discomfort. It can also cause changes in the stool itself often resulting in diarrhea, but sometimes constipation. The symptoms are distinctly relieved by defecation, and tend to come and go. IBS is a condition of exclusion. This means that other causes of your symptoms will need to be ruled out before you can get the IBS diagnosis. Conditions such as celiac disease and lactose intolerance also can cause diarrhea and flatulence. The pain on your left side may need worked up with an x-ray or CT scan of the abdomen. In patients with IBS, these tests come back normal.
I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician
. He or she can take down a detailed account of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. There are some simple test that can be done to rule out some minor illnesses that can also cause these symptoms. If your doctor
is particularly worried about a gastrointestinal disease, then you may need a referral to see a gastroenterologist
for further testing.