Note: IBS is not that same as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). More information on IBD, click here.
Each person, based on the type of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) they have, will have different symptoms. In general, IBS can cause:
Note: Bleeding, fever, weight loss and severe pain that does not go away are not symptoms of IBS and may suggest other problems. Talk to your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.
If you think you may have IBS — you have these symptoms more than three times a month for more than three months and it is getting in the way of your normal life — talk to your doctor.
Speak up early, completely and often. Your doctor needs all the details of your symptoms to give you the best treatment plan.
To find out if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), your doctor will do a few tests. Mainly, the tests will show whether you have a different health issue, such as an infection, causing your symptoms. There is no single test to make the diagnosis of IBS. If no other issue is found to be causing your symptoms, it is probably IBS, but only your doctor can confirm this.
Your doctor will:
You doctor may:
If other no other health issues are found, and you are having symptoms of IBS (such as cramps, belly pain, loose stool or problems passing stool) more than three times a month for the past three months, and it is interfering with your life, your doctor may conclude that you have IBS.
There are many treatment options to help care for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Talk to your doctor to find out which is best for you. Since each person experiences different symptoms with IBS, everyone needs a treatment plan unique to them. If you try one and are still having symptoms, let your doctor know so you can try something different.
For some, finding out you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a relief, a reason for symptoms and a light at the end of the tunnel. For others, it can be scary and daunting. Many will have a mix of feelings. All of this is completely normal.
No matter what you may feel upon hearing you have IBS, it is of great value to know that you are not alone and that there are useful support groups for people with IBS (both in person and online) to deal with the impact on a physical, emotional and social level. If you are overwhelmed by your new diagnosis, don’t wait to reach out to a mental health expert to talk through the changes. He or she may suggest trying relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness.
Try using the MyGIHealth® app to keep track of your symptoms.