Answer: This is really difficult to distinguish sometimes but the longstanding nature of IBS would suggest that the problem are recurring. IBS is usually intense cramps of varying degrees. Serious abdominal pains are going to be very sharp and very localized and increasing in intensity and not wavering at all. So if the pain continues to elevate over 2 to 4 hours, then that is probably not IBS and could be a myriad of things but would warrant emergent evaluation. If you have concerns, it is always best to see your physician.
- Dr. C. Raymond Cottrell, M.D.,Gastroenterologist