If you suspect that you have irritable bowel syndrome, it is important to meet a doctor (a general physician or a gastroenterologist) to seek medical advice about what is causing the symptoms.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose IBS based on your medical history, symptoms, and physical examination. He or she may also ask for tests.
The medical history may include questions such as:
Your doctor will look for the pattern in your symptoms. He or she will try to understand:
During a physical exam, your doctor will:
Based on the review of your symptoms and physical exam, your doctor will decide which tests, if any, are needed for diagnosing the condition and ruling out other possibilities.
An experienced physician’s judgment is most important in determining what tests are needed for accurate diagnosis. Testing requirements vary for each individual depending on factors such as family history, symptoms, psychological condition, etc.
There's no test as such to definitively diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. Your doctor will start with a medical history review, physical examination, and tests to rule out other diseases that may show similar symptoms.
If you have diarrhea along with IBS, you may be tested for gluten intolerance (celiac disease).
To diagnose IBS, your doctor will take a complete medical history and perform a physical exam as discussed above. If the doctor requires, he or she may ask for any of the following tests:
A complete blood count is done generally to check for conditions such as anemia and other abnormalities. Your doctor may recommend blood tests for tissue damage or inflammation, or for celiac disease.
Your doctor may perform more blood tests based on the results of the blood test and based on other factors such as family history and your symptoms and if you have:
The doctor will use your blood test results to check for conditions other than IBS. He or she will send your blood sample to a lab for the testing.
Stool tests are done to check for bacterial infections, intestinal parasites, or reasons for the blood in your stool if it appears.
Your doctor will give you a container to hold a stool sample. This will be sent for analysis, to check for blood or parasites or infections. Your doctor may also check for blood in your stool by examining your rectum in a physical exam.
Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy allows visual examination of your rectum and the large intestine (colon) with the help of a scope.
These tests are usually done when there are warning signs such as bleeding from rectum, unexplained weight loss, or to test for colon cancer if you are old aged.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a testing method that uses a flexible, narrow tube with a tiny camera (called a sigmoidoscope) on one end to look what is wrong inside your rectum and colon.
Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that involves a long, flexible, and thin tube with a tiny camera (called a colonoscope) fitted on its one end to see inside your rectum and colon.
Your doctor may also ask for an X-ray.
Further testing may also be needed if you have a family history of colon cancer or ovarian cancer, or if your age is 60+ years and if you noted changes bowel habits for more than five weeks.
In such cases, your doctor may recommend to check for abnormalities in your gut and to rule out other conditions such as:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms (IBS Symptoms) Irritable. . . .
What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome Causes (IBS) Irritable bowel syndrome. . . .
What is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)? IBS or irritable bowel. . . .
What is Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Irritable bowel syndrome is a type. . . .
How do doctors treat IBS? The symptoms of irritable bowel. . . .