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IBS Diagnosis

How is IBS diagnosed?

If you think you have IBS, seeing your doctor is the first step. IBS is generally diagnosed on the basis of a complete medical history that includes a careful description of symptoms and a physical examination.

ibs diagnosisNo particular test is specific for IBS. However, diagnostic tests may be performed to rule out other diseases. These tests may include stool or blood tests, x rays, or endoscopy (viewing the colon through a flexible tube inserted through the anus). If these tests are all negative, the doctor may diagnose IBS based on your symptoms: that is, how often you have had abdominal pain or discomfort during the past year, when the pain starts and stops in relation to bowel function, and how your bowel frequency and stool consistency are altered.

Criteria for IBS Diagnosis

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort for at least 12 weeks out of the previous 12 months. These 12 weeks do not have to be consecutive.

The abdominal pain or discomfort has two of the following three features:

  • It is relieved by having a bowel movement.
  • When it starts, there is a change in how often you have a bowel movement.
  • When it starts, there is a change in the form of the stool or the way it looks.

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