IBS diagnosis can be performed with many different diagnostic tests that can either support or rule out an irritable bowel syndrome. Physicians order such tests when patients demonstrate a combination of telltale symptoms.
The patient might complain about symptoms that are prevalent in a number of different situations, not only with IBS.
Symptoms that IBS sufferers share with victims of other disorders include pain that prevents restful sleep, diarrhea that interferes with sleep, weight loss, fever, blood in the stool, and an abnormal physical examination.
The IBS diagnosis procedure often begins when a patient complains about one of the above IBS symptoms. When a patient presents with such symptoms, then the physician knows that the ensuing year needs to include both a series of particular diagnostic tests, as well as a watch for acute signs that the patient has IBS.
The physician should then instruct the patient to report instances of the following:
- feeling of relief upon defecation
- lumpy, hard stool or loose, watery stool
- more than 3 bowel movements per day or less than 3 bowel movements per week
- straining during stool passage or rushing to have a bowel movement
- bloated feeling; abdominal fullness or swelling
- presence in the stool of a white mucus
The physician has an increased reason to suspect Irritable Bowel Syndrome, if the occurrences of the above symptoms happen in an irregular pattern, and if they appear most often during times of stress, then.
The physician needs to order a number of different tests, in order to confirm such a diagnosis. The physician would certainly order blood tests. Such tests could furnish the physician with a complete blood count and an erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
The medical professional seeking a proper diagnosis would probably order stool tests, once the physician had studied the results of the blood tests. The stool tests serve to double-check what the patient has observed.
Stool tests can detect any occult (hidden) blood in the stool. Such occult blood would not be seen by the patient, and would thus not be reported to the doctor.
The physician would normally order either a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy following the stool tests. Both tests provide a visual examination of the patient’s GI tract.
The sigmoidoscopy looks at just the rectum and the sigmoid section of the large intestine, whereas the colonoscopy offers an inside view of the entire large bowel.
The physician might also call for a barium enema. This is an x-ray of the bowel, one taken after the bowel has been distended by a barium-containing liquid and air. Confirmation of suspected Irritable Bowel Syndrome is offered by the above tests. The above tests currently serve as an essential part of the IBS diagnosis procedure.
Confirmation of IBS does not, however, negate the usefulness of certain supplementary tests.
Psychological tests for anxiety and depression help to identify the cause of IBS. Such psychological tests can offer important guidelines for the proper treatment of a patient’s IBS, even though they are supplementary to the main diagnosis process.
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