My mum and me suspect I have it but we have no idea how to test for it. My mum does have IBS but she was diagnosed by our GP. How do doctors diagnose IBS and what are the tell-tale signs that one may have the condition?
There is no test that confirms the diagnosis of IBS. A doctor can usually diagnose IBS from the typical symptoms.
Here are couple of links which should the contain the information you require:
With IBS the GP will probably try to look at your symptoms and rule things out, such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, IBD, obstruction, thyroid disorder etc. He/she will do some labs such as, CBC to rule out infection and GI bleed, Amylase/lipase to rule out gallbladder disease; plasma glucose within 2 hours of ingesting lactose to rule out lactose intolerance, serum lactic acid and pH to rule out ischemia, EMA and other to rule out Celiac, TSH to rule out thyroid associated constipation and diarrhea, stool hemocult to rule out symptoms not consistent with IBS. Then there are also diagnostic tests that can be done. Abdominal ultrasound, CT or X-ray, MRI to rule out obstruction, bowel wall thickening/malabsorption, tumor and gallbladder problems. A upper GI series to rule out blockage, abnormal growth, ulcer, IBD. Upper endoscopy to rule out inflammation, bleeding. A lower GI series for abnormal growth, ulcers, polyps, diverticulitis, IBD.
Colonoscopy, signoidoscopy, stool cultures... Granted they won't do all of this, but just some things they do to rule out.
There there is the diagnostic criteria, which not sure what the UK uses but the US uses Rome III diagnostic criteria for IBS. If a person fits that criteria then they look for warning signs like rectal bleeding, anemia, weight loss, fever. You can have a celiac sprue and if that is negative then the diagnosis is confirmed.
Signs and symptoms that you may have IBS are:
diarrhea, urgent; constipation, straining during bowel movement, abdominal fullness or bloating, incomplete evacuation, mucous in the stool. Could have a mix of symptoms and they may be associated with meals or stress.
Yes a diagnosis of IBS is more of a process of elimination then an actual test unless you have colon spasms during one of the tests at which point it can be more directly addressed. They will still do the other tests to make sure that there isn't something else that is causing it.
There really are 3 types of IBS- IBS-D which is primarily diarhea, IBS-C which is primarily constipation or IBS with both diarhea and constipation. All three can have colon spasms as well as the bloating, gas, and all the other fun stuff that goes along with it.
I have never heard of anyone having to have all the upper GI tract tests to get a diagnosis for IBS so hopefully you will not have to endure all of that but you will have to have the lower GI tract tests which are not fun if you have the IBS-D and colon spasms.
If you are in the UK or Canada you can get Buscopan for the spasms if they are a real problem and from personal experience it works very well.
Hope this helps
Dear SJACadet - I have Crohns Disease, it is in the IBS family. I was sick for over a year before I was finally sent to a GI specialist who did a colonoscopy and had a diagnosis in days. That was 28+ years ago. MORE important than the tell-tale signs, are WHAT are YOU feeling now, and for how long. Although Crohns is a bit more serious, neither is a very fun disease to have. With IBS, you are most likely to have abdominal pain, especially after eating, and either constipation or diarrhea, some weight loss, and for some a very nauseated feeling. This does not necessarily mean you have IBS, but, they are signs of it, and other digestive disorders. You need a complete going over by a Gastroenteroligist, who can either diagnose a host of bowel problems, or rule them out. The symptoms you are having now are what matters most, as that is the gateway to finding your problem. Good luck, and have a blessed day!!
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