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Is there a test to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome is diagnosed by excluding other GI disorders that can cause similar symptoms. A complete history and physical is taken to determine the duration and frequency of symptoms. To be diagnosed with the condition, the duration of symptoms should be at least six months and should occur at least three times a month.

A doctor may order tests, including blood tests, stool tests, X-rays, or CT scans. There is no specific finding on these tests that can confirm the diagnosis of IBS, however, other problems can be ruled out by performing them.

A doctor may also send the patient to a gastroenterologist (a specialist in the digestive system). Depending on the symptoms, an upper endoscopy and/or colonoscopy may be performed.

Return to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms, Diet, Treatment, and Test

See what others are saying

Comment from: Positive, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) today after the doctor did a colonoscopy a week ago. It has been 1 year and 2 months that I have been struggling with pain going in and out of hospital.

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Comment from: Christy N, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 15

I had stomach aches and diarrhea since I was ten years old. Doctors gave me Mylanta. By the time I was in my 20s I had barium tests and stomach scopes and colonoscopy which revealed a 'slow system' so I was put on Propulsid, which I stopped after 3 days because of the pain. Endometriosis was discovered at 28 and I had hysterectomy of everything at 29. Lactose intolerance and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) diagnosis at 32 and I started on dicyclomine, which helps. Discovered Ehlers-Danlos and sensitivity to gluten at 42. No more wheat has helped tremendously.

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Comment from: Miller, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

After several MRIs, Barium tests, X-Rays, and ultrasounds (including a gynecological ultrasound), I was told I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I have had it now for three years and never get relief. I have had a chronic stomach ache since then. I go from diarrhea to constipation (hospitalized for three days once as I was full of poop). I always have a stomach ache. I am usually bloated, tired, and fearful of travelling. I cannot play with my kids properly. I have been given no real medication to try. I have been taking Metamucil and laxatives for a year now. I also have sharp pain in my right side, and I cannot sleep on any side any longer. I feel like I am being poked by something on my right side. I had my gallbladder removed seven years ago, and they think that is scar tissue. I wish someone could figure this thing out!

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