Getting a diagnosis of IBS

Prospective clients often wonder why I ask them some quite detailed questions about the process that led them to having a diagnosis of IBS. I’m actually just trying to be certain that I’m going to be giving the correct treatment.

The symptoms of IBS are very like those of several other gut disorders and it is vitally important to make sure that those other gut disorders have been excluded before embarking on a treatment plan for IBS, such as the low FODMAP diet.

There are no specific tests for IBS, the diagnosis is generally made after other conditions with similar symptoms have been ruled out.

The symptoms of IBS- abdominal pain, change in bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation), bloating and wind can be very similar to conditions like Coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohns and Colitis), bowel cancer or ovarian cancer in women. This is why it is so important for me as a dietitian to make sure that these conditions have been excluded.

Generally the tests to rule out other conditions can be fairly simple like blood or stool tests. Occasionally if other symptoms are present such as unintentional weight loss, passing blood with the stool or if family history is indicative, a colonoscopy may be performed.
Once I am sure that these other conditions have been ruled out, I am happy to treat my client.
It is very important for dietitians to work with the rest of your care team, I will always, with your permission, write to your GP and/ or consultant to inform them of the treatment that I have provided you with.

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