Let’s take a step back to the beginning and actually look at how IBS is diagnosed. Unfortunately, there is still no one test that will tell you if you have irritable bowel syndrome – it is more complex than that. Nothing can be found that is physiologically wrong – no inflammation, no makers in blood tests, nothing shows up in a colonoscopy or scan. Watch my video to learn about the process that a health practitioner will follow before giving you a diagnosis of IBS.
Transcription of “How is IBS Diagnosed?”
Today I want to talk to you about how IBS is diagnosed. First of all, the symptoms are bloating, pain, discomfort, a change in frequency or in appearance of your stools, mucus – when you go to the toilet, as part of the passage of mucus, incomplete evacuation – that feeling that you haven’t quite finished on the toilet. Those are all symptoms of IBS. If you had any other symptoms like bleeding or maybe anemia, unexpected weight loss, and maybe if you’ve got a history of cancer of the colon in the family, those are things that you should be going to your doctor about and he will be doing further tests, or he could at that stage send you to a gastroenterologist.
Initially, if you have only the first set of symptoms, he will probably do blood tests. These are blood tests for certain markers to see if you have perhaps coeliac disease or not. If there are no more serious symptoms apart from the first ones I’ve mentioned – though they might feel very serious to those of us with IBS but we’re not bleeding, we’re not losing weight, et cetera – then he’ll probably stop there and tell you that you have IBS. If he’s more concerned, then you’re going to be having a colonoscopy, maybe a fecal test, possibly an ultrasound just to rule out other possibilities and to see if you have something like Crohn’s or colitis. Also parasites – the fecal test would be for them. Normally you wouldn’t need to do all those things and, in particular, colonoscopies, comes with certain risks, so don’t do them unless really have to. Don’t push for them if your doctor doesn’t think you need them.
There are some intolerance tests that you could have done. There’s the IgE blood test. That’s a valid one, but it really is for allergies, and we don’t have food allergies. We malabsorb food, so it’s not going to show up. It would only show up if you were actually allergic to something and break out in hives – have quite a radical reaction to it. There are other intolerance tests. None of them unfortunately have any scientific basis to them, like hair analysis and muscle testing as part of kinesiology. Also, the IgG blood test is also not based on science so the only one that would give you any answers would be the IgE test and that’s only if you were actually allergic to the food.
I hope that gives you a more complete picture. IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion. If you’ve excluded all other possibilities, and you don’t have any of those more serious symptoms, then you have IBS because you still have bloating, pain and discomfort. There’s nothing physiological that a doctor or any test can see. That’s called IBS.