Can IBS Cause a Constant Burning Hunger Pain?

As many as one in five Americans have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 1. While burning pain is not a symptom typically associated with IBS, symptoms do vary from person to person. Also, spicy foods have been known to cause a burning sensation in people with IBS. A burning hunger pain could also be the sign of another underlying gastrointestinal disorder, such as a stomach ulcer. If the burning sensation is consistently present, consult a doctor.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The typical symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, fullness, gas and bloating that have been present for at least six months, according to PubMed Health. Many people suffer from constipation or diarrhea, or alternate between the two. Often, the symptoms come on after a meal and are relieved after a bowel movement. Symptoms can came and go, and their severity varies from person to person.

Burning Sensation

The burning sensation associated with IBS is often the result of eating spicy foods, according to the Central Surgical Associates website. In a study published in the 2008 medical journal "Gut," researchers at the Imperial College London reported that IBS sufferers have an unusually high number of chili pepper pain receptors in their colon, which is the probable cause of the burning sensation from eating spicy foods. If you are eating a lot of spicy foods and have IBS, it could cause of a constant, burning hunger pain. Your colon may also be sensitive to other foods as well as stress, according to the NIDDK, and that could contribute to the pain.

Other Causes

IBS often overlaps with other gastrointestinal disorders, and many of them can have burning hunger pain as a symptom. For example, irritable bowel disorders such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis affect the digestive process. A stomach ulcer caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria often has stomach pain and hunger as a symptom. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can irritate the gastric lining of your stomach if it is taken for longer periods of time and can exacerbate IBS and other gastrointestinal symptoms.


Avoid these irritants to verify if they are causing the problem. If you are experiencing the symptom of constant burning pain along with hunger despite taking measures, consult a doctor. If you experience other symptoms along with the symptoms of burning hunger, such as blood in the stool, fever or persistent, severe pain, seek immediate medical attention.