- What is IBS?
- How is it diagnosed?
- Can diet help my symptoms?
- Red Flags
These are all questions we get on a daily basis from our GI clients. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects the lower GI tract and can cause bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. An IBS diagnosis can be overwhelming for individual support book in with one of our dietitians.
The symptoms of IBS are:
- stomach pain
How is IBS diagnosed?
There is no test that will positively diagnose IBS. IBS is diagnosed through ruling out other diseases like celiac and inflammatory bowel disease.
- blood test to rule out celiac disease
- stool sample and bloodwork to rule out IBD
Recurrent abdominal pain that lasts an average of 1 day a week in the last 3 months and associated with 2 or more of the following:
- Related to defecation
- Associated with change in frequency of stool
- Associated with change in appearance of stool
There are a few subtypes which include:
- IBS-C: constipation predominant
- IBS-D: diarrhea predominant
- IBS-M: mixture of constipation and diarrhea
- IBS-U: unclassified symptoms that cannot be categorized into one of the other 3 subtypes
How to Manage Symptoms
For some reduction in the following can help:
- fatty foods
- carbonated drinks
- gas producing foods
- alcohol may aid symptoms
Ensure regular eating habits are followed to regulate the bowels, along with eating small more frequent meals, and ensuring staying hydrated are all beneficial tips to try. It can be helpful to keep track of your food intake in the form of a food diary to identifying what foods contribute to symptoms.
Situational triggers are also important to take note of.
For example, if you notice before a big presentation or exam your symptoms tend to worsen this is something that is important to mention to your health care team.
If you have any of the following symptoms you need to see your family physician right away:
- bloody stool
- black tarry stool
- nocturnal bowel movements (waking in the night with urgency to pass a bowel movement)
- unintentional weight loss
- uncontrollable vomiting
- severe pain
- hard lump in abdomen