Methods of Examination

How is IBS diagnosed?

IBS is diagnosed clinically based on the presence of typical symptoms of recurrent abdominal discomfort or pain which changes after passing stool, or is associated with a change in bowel habit, along with a normal physical examination and appropriate tests to exclude other medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms such as coeliac disease (intolerance to gluten), inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis or bowel cancer.

IBS does not cause rectal bleeding, abdominal pain at night or pain that progresses, weight loss or abnormal blood tests. If these symptoms are present, then further tests will be required. Further tests may also be required if you are more than 40 years old when you develop symptoms or if you have a family history of bowel cancer.

Below are a number of tests you may have. The specific type and number of tests will depend on your symptoms and also the tests chosen to be most useful by your physician.

Which tests?

There is no one test that can diagnose IBS. In fact, if there are typical symptoms, then tests may not be required. The list of tests listed above is not exhaustive and each test is chosen depending on your symptoms. It is therefore likely you will not be need all of them.