IBS is a disease or condition that affects your gastrointestinal system. This is the system that is responsible for food movement, digestion, absorption and bowel movement/excretion.
When you have IBS, one or all of the above functions of your gastrointestinal system are affected, leading to severe pain, severe diarrhoea, constipation and discomfort, especially in your abdomen or lower belly. Some of these symptoms are so severe that you cannot operate normally. You can only stay indoors, meaning you will become socially absent, which is not good for your mental health.
How Is IBS Diagnosed?
You should know that there is no specific test for IBS. That is why you need to visit a doctor who is qualified and licensed to diagnose and manage IBS. What the doctor does is run a series of tests to rule out other illnesses. If you are experiencing severe pain in your abdomen, your doctor lists down the common diseases that portray symptoms like severe abdominal pain and rules them out one by one. They can conduct tests like stool and blood tests, endoscopy and colonoscopy, MRIs, X-rays, ultrasounds, etc.
Expect to be asked multiple questions as well. These questions are aimed at finding out whether you are experiencing symptoms connected to IBS; for example, are you experiencing abdominal pain that ends after a bowel movement? They also help doctors rule out other diseases.
After running a series of tests and asking multiple questions, your doctor may come up with the following diagnoses:
- You have IBS-C—These are patients who present with severe constipation.
- You have IBS-D—These are patients who present with severe diarrhoea.
- You have IBS-M—These are patients who present with both constipation and diarrhoea.
- You have IBS-U—These are patients who present with other symptoms.
How Is IBS Treated?
No treatment exists for IBS; your doctor can only offer ways to manage it (reduce or prevent the symptoms). IBS management is not achieved quickly, expect an experimental journey of finding out what works and does not. This means you will be working closely with your doctor for quite some time.
So, what can you expect? First, expect a diet change, especially after your doctor realises that a particular food is making your symptoms worse. Secondly, expect a prescription of particular drugs to control bacteria in your intestines, slow down food movement and to prevent depression. Lastly, expect lifestyle changes like resting more and engaging in various exercises.
For more insight, contact services that offer IBS treatment.