Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as nervous stomach, is one of the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal conditions in the United States. This syndrome refers to a group of uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain, excessive gas, and cramps.
If you have digestive symptoms like these and are wondering if and how a gastroenterologist diagnoses IBS, this article is for you.
In this article, we’ll talk about how GI doctors diagnose IBS and where you can go in Brooklyn, OH, for comprehensive evaluation and treatment of your digestive issues.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosis
It may come as a surprise to you that there is no definitive test to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. Instead, doctors diagnose IBS by a process of elimination, or by ruling out any other bowel conditions.
Your gastroenterologist will begin your diagnosis by taking your complete medical history and performing physical exams and tests to rule out other digestive problems like inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.
To rule out the other causes of your digestive symptoms, your GI doctor will order some tests, including but not limited to:
- Stool Test – A stool test checks for signs of any infection and malabsorption by examining a stool sample for bacteria, parasites, and the presence of bile.
- Colonoscopy – A colonoscopy is a diagnostic test that uses an endoscope (a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera on one end)to examine the tissue in the entire length of the colon for signs of inflammation or polyps.
- Upper Endoscopy – This procedure also uses an endoscope but instead examines the upper digestive tract. The endoscope can also take a tissue sample for biopsy, or a fluid sample to check the overgrowth of the bacteria. Endoscopy help rules out celiac disease.
- Lactose Intolerance Test – The symptoms of lactose intolerance are similar to those of IBS, so your GI doctor may do a lactose intolerance test to determine if you are missing lactase (an enzyme that digests lactose) and if that is causing your symptoms.
After ruling out all other possible conditions for your digestive symptoms, your GI doctor will use one of the following sets of diagnostic criteria:
- Rome Criteria – This includes abdominal pain and discomfort at least once a week in the last 3 months along with either two of the following:
- A change in the frequency of defecation
- A change in stool consistency
- Pain and discomfort related to defecation
- Types of IBS – IBS is divided into different types like diarrhea-predominant, constipation-predominant, mixed, or unclassified IBS. This makes it easier to design treatment plans specific to your type of IBS.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment in Brooklyn, OH
If you think you have symptoms similar to those of the IBS and you want a lasting solution, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our wonderful GI doctors at North Shore Gastroenterology. Our board-certified gastroenterologists are experienced in treating a full range of GI problems, including most types of IBS. They’ll develop a personalized and highly effective treatment plan to provide the relief you need.