Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Updated on November 06, 2013
C.R. asks from Olathe, KS
7 answers

What are symptoms of IBS & and how do they test for it? I'm planning on asking my doctor, but won't be able to get in for an appointment for awhile.

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answers from Houston on

What JB said. Same for me. When I asked my doctor how he had come to that conclusion, he said that if the meds made me feel better, then it was IBS. A few years later, I learned that I have a gluten sensitivity, which is often misdiagnosed as IBS. GI stuff is so very tricky. The key is to make sure that you have a doctor who is committed to your thorough care. Even when the symptoms don't always add up to a name, your ailments must be addressed. Get a good doctor, and tell that doctor EVERYTHING that is going on with your body, even the things that you think are not connected. If you are experiencing anything in your life that could be stressful or otherwise life-changing, tell it! Make sure that you have a doctor who will look at everything and address even the "minor" details with you.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I work with a lot of people with IBS. It's a broad spectrum diagnosis - IBS can be characterized by chronic constipation, chronic or frequent diarrhea, or a combination of both. Inflammation is a huge issue for many people in many parts of the body - inflammation in the bowel is caused by poor diet, or a diet that appears to be good but is affected by deficiencies in the nutrient content of our foods (a reality recognized in 2002 by the American Medical Association). Digestive issues can include or be connected a wide range of additional problems, from acid reflux/GERD to Crohn's to diverticulitis and others. Some people have everything, some people have 1 or 2.

There are plenty of simple approaches to IBS that you can do while you wait for an appointment. I have people who've addressed this in just a few days; others take weeks or months. Once it's dealt with, it doesn't usually come back. For example, I have one colleague who took 2 days, and I have another colleague who took about 6 weeks to get better, but that was about 9 years ago and he's had no recurrence.

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answers from Albuquerque on

This is something you can look up online… go to the Mayo Clinic site or another reputable medical website and you can read it without someone here having to type out or copy over that information.

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answers from Boston on

I was diagnosed with IBS in high school (20+ years ago) and back then, it was a differential diagnosis. Meaning, they tested and poked and prodded and eliminated everything obvious. When there was no obvious reason for my pain, they called it IBS. I would think and hope that 20 years later, there is a more precise way to determine if symptoms are IBS or something else specific that is treatable.

My symptoms were that I had bloating and pain in my stomach and lower digestive tract. It felt like a balloon was inflated in my stomach and the pain spread to my back. I missed several weeks of school and spent many of those days in bed, crouched over a pillow on my hands and knees, rocking back and forth. I was put on anti-cramping and anti-nausea meds. I was hungry but eating hurt too much so I didn't eat. I had all kinds of imaging, ultrasounds, a vaginal exam (awesome at 15...not), an upper GI, all kinds of bloodwork, etc. They never did figure out what the cause of that acute attack was. I had a few other flare ups in high school but just white-knuckled through those and treated the pain and cramping with pain relievers, heating pads, etc.

Luckily, whatever the issue was seems to have resolved itself and I haven't had any major stomach issues since then.

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answers from New York on

You'll probably start with a colonoscopy - the prep is the real annoyance - the procedure is easy. They knock you out. That will tell you a lot.

You didn't mention your symptoms. What are you dealing with? And how old are you?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Best way to get accurate information is to google it.

I was diagnosed with IBS in my twenties. For me it was chronic off and on diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Alternating diarrhea and constipation is true for many people. The doctor arrived at that diagnosis by eliminating other possibilities. Tests included a barium enema, a colonoscopy, CT scan. I think they may use an MRI now. I had more than one series of xrays that they may not use because if the availability of CT and MRI.

Later: if it's going to be very long before you're able to see a doctor there are some things you can do that may be helpful. Keep a food diary to see if any specific foods bring on an attack. Try avoiding those. Eat regular nutritious meals consistently containing fiber. Drink plenty of fluids. Exercise and get good sleep. Reduce stress as much as possible. Learn relaxation skills.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

My doctor ran a full list of tests ... blood work, fecal sample, urine test. Ruled out anything else, like parasites. I had problems with chronic diarrhea for years when I got the IBS diagnosis.

What has made all the difference for me is dietary changes. No more coffee or tea of any kind. That was a big trigger. No more citrus. No spicy anything. Limited chocolate. Beans, only in small amounts. If I steer clear of the problem foods, I'm usually good. It killed me giving up coffee and I still yawn throughout the day years after giving it up, but I'd rather feel better overall.

It can also help to add fiber to your diet (regardless of which form of IBS). I did that for a while and it helped, but I found with big dietary changes I could get results without fiber supplements.

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