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How Do You Know If You Have IBS?

YORK, England, January 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is now one of the most common problems of the digestive system and about one in six people have symptoms. Most people's symptoms are mild and so they may not see a doctor for treatment. However, some people have really troublesome symptoms which seriously impact their quality of life. The most significant symptoms in IBS are abdominal pain and abnormal bowel habit. Many people with IBS get crampy abdominal discomfort or pain which comes and goes and is often relieved by opening the bowels. Their bowels are often irregular; sometimes diarrhoea or constipation, and quite often swinging between the two extremes, either needing to go to the toilet in a real hurry or not going for days. Other symptoms vary but include bloating, swollen tummy, passing mucous (slime), lacking in energy and sleeping poorly.

YorkTest Laboratories have helped many thousands of people with IBS symptoms to manage their condition with dietary changes, including providing Nutritional Therapist advice on food intolerances and "IBS friendly" diets. For the first time, YorkTest have provided guidance for those who are unsure whether they have IBS or not.

Scientific Director at YorkTest, Dr Gill Hart, says: "Many people think they have IBS but aren't sure. People often get used to their symptoms considering them as 'normal', others aren't sure whether they need to see a Doctor or not, and many have seen their GP and have ruled out any serious cause for their condition but don't know where to turn next. For this reason we have provided people with guidance for them to assess whether they have IBS or not. You are likely to be left to your own devices in terms of managing your IBS unless you have any of the 'alarm symptoms' so we have summarised those too."

IBS is identified as someone having multiple episodes of abdominal pain or discomfort, with a frequency of at least three bouts in the past month for the past three months, and at least two of the three following:
  • Diarrhoea or constipation concurrent with onset of pain
  • Change in the frequency of defaecation concurrent with the onset of pain
  • Abdominal pain stops after defaecation

You are unlikely to have any diagnostic tests for IBS unless you have any "alarm symptoms," which include rectal bleeding, weight loss, anaemia and diarrhoea waking you from sleep, or have a family history of diseases such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. If you have any of these then you need to see your GP.

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