Many people suffer with digestive symptoms for long periods of time without getting a diagnosis. They may pass it off as normal digestive grumbling or having a less than perfect diet. But then again who has a perfect diet?.
IBS and other conditions
The symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, change in bowel habits (diarrhoea or constipation), bloating and wind. They can be very similar to conditions like Coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis). It’s really important important to make sure that those other conditions have been ruled out before starting any treatment for IBS, such as taking regular medication or attempting the low FODMAP diet.
How is IBS diagnosed?
Generally the tests to rule out other conditions can be fairly simple like blood or stool tests. Your GP can organise these for you, so book in to see them if you are having any of these symptoms regularly.
It is important to explain to your GP exactly what your symptoms are, how often you experience them and how the symptoms affect your day to day life. This will help them to decide on how best to look after you.
Sometimes your GP might refer you on to a gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist might use an endoscopy, or small camera, to look inside your gut to see if there is anything that can be seen to explain your symptoms.
I have IBS, what now?
Getting a new diagnosis can be a lot to take in. It is natural to look for as much information as you can so that you can help yourself. Be careful about the information you might find online, as there can be lots of unreliable and unregulated advice around.
Most people use a mixture of medicines, relaxation and stress management and dietary treatment to manage their symptoms.
There are different dietary approaches available, depending on your symptoms. Try to work with a suitably qualified registered dietitian where possible- especially if you want to embark on the low FODMAP diet. Dietitian Mairi has undergone specialist training and has supported many people to take control of their IBS symptoms over a period of 7 years. Our tailored low FODMAP programme will give you as much information, help and support as you need to enjoy eating again!