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How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosed?

Apr 25, 2008
The diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] is made by your medical doctor mainly on the basis of what symptoms you are experiencing. Typical symptoms are bloating, abdominal pain/cramps, constipation and diarrhoea. Typical causes are a bad diet, food poisoning, a prolonged course of antibiotics or an operation around the pelvic area.

Following on from your story of your symptoms, the doctor may physically examine you. This may be an examination of the stomach area where the doctor will push along the large intestinal wall, to understand how tender the region is. Your doctor may also take your blood pressure or measure your heart rate.

Your doctor may refer you to a Gastroenterologist for a rectal examination. This is where the Gastroenterologist inserts a flexible tube with a light inside it into your rectum. The allows the Gastroenterologist to see the lining of the bowel. The Gastroenterologist may examine part of the colon or the entire length [about 4 feet]. In addition the Gastroenterologist may take a sample of the bowel wall called a biopsy to make sure that the bowel is truly normal. This is one way for example to test for gluten intolerance.

Your doctor may request that you take a Barium Meal which is swallowed or a Barium Enema which is taken via the rectum. Barium is a radioactive substance that shows up under X-rays.

The doctor may also ask for blood tests to be taken. This could be to check for parasites, for example, Giardia.

The purpose of these tests is reassurance and confirmation that nothing is wrong with the structure of the bowel. You are unlikely to get a tumour or cancer from IBS. IBS is an indication that the bowel is going into spasm. These days your medical doctor should be understanding and compassionate of your symptoms. I would hope that now the medical profession has moved on and agrees that IBS is a bona fide illness and is not just in our heads. I was lucky in that my medical doctor used to be a sufferer of IBS. I would research information and then go to him with what I'd found and we would both agree on the next course of action. I hope that you are fortunate enough to also have such an understanding medical doctor.

All in all it can take a while [months] to run through all the medical tests to confirm that there is nothing wrong with your bowel. Whatever you can do speed up this process should be suggested to the medical profession, for example if you can go private.

The following is a list of symptoms that do not indicate IBS:

1). blood on the stool,
2). jet black stool that looks like tar,
3). vomiting or vomiting blood,
4). loss of weight when you are not trying to lose weight.

If you have any of these symptoms then you need to see your medical doctor even if you have IBS.

If you can, before you go to see your medical doctor, write out your questions beforehand, so that you have a better chance of leaving the doctor with your questions and concerns answered.
About the Author
If you do not make time for your health then your enjoyment of life will be impaired. Most people can remember a time when they did not have IBS, what did that mean to you? Discover how to claim back your life at http://www.bowelremedy.com
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