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Do I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome ?

06/12/2009 - Questions and Answers

Do I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome ?

By: Novoviva webmaster

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Question

I have been told that what I have is probably Irritable Bowel Syndrome. How can it be determined that this is really my diagnosis? and what does this mean for me?

 

Answer

You ask how it would be determined that IBS was the diagnosis. The doctor would take a careful history of your bowel habits, life style, stress and emotional problems, along with a careful rectal examination. In some cases, a lower GI (barium enema) or colonoscopy are used to rule out diverticula and other bowel disease. In most cases, IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that when all other conditions are excluded IBS is usually the diagnosis.
 

If you do have IBS this information may be of help to you. IBS sufferers are sometimes intolerant of certain foods, such as wheat products or milk. An irritant effect can lead, because of visceral hypersensitivity, to poor digestion, excessive gas, bloating, and intestinal 'hurry'. The first line of treatment should be a change in diet - for instance, the gradual introduction of a low-fiber diet for diarrhea, or the reverse for constipation. Obvious irritants should be avoided, and a cautious trial of a gluten- or wheat-free diet may be appropriate. It is important for each person to discover just what foods trigger bouts of discomfort, and as each person reacts differently to certain foods, it is often a case of "trail and error' to sort out the trigger culprits. Sometimes a 'diet & attack diary' can help identify trigger foods. Probiotics (e.g. yogurts, acidophilus supplements) may be helpful in some patients. What else is important to be aware of is that Stress - feeling mentally or emotionally tense, troubled, angry, or overwhelmed - stimulates colon spasms in people with IBS. Therefore methods of stress management become vital to quality of life. If your final diagnosis is IBS the links below may be helpful to you in learning more.
 

Related Links
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS Symptoms Tool
Treating IBS by Hypnosis?
Help for IBS for sufferer
Stress Management

Created on: 10/23/2006
Reviewed on: 06/12/2009

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