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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (cont.)

When should you seek medical care if you think you have IBS?

If a person has any of the symptoms of IBS as discussed previously, or if a person with known IBS has unusual symptoms, a health-care professional should be consulted. Go to a hospital emergency department if problems are severe and/or come on suddenly.

What type of doctor treats irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome may initially be diagnosed by your primary care provider such as your family doctor, internist, or family medicine specialist. A gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in disorders of the digestive system) usually will provide further treatment. An emergency medicine specialist may be seen if you have an acute flare-up of IBS symptoms.

How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?

IBS can be difficult to diagnosis. IBS is called a diagnosis of exclusion, which means a doctor considers many other alternatives first, performing tests to rule out other medical problems. Some of these tests may include laboratory studies, imaging studies (such as a CT scan or small intestinal X-rays), and endoscopy and/or colonoscopy). An endoscopy is a procedure in which a flexible tube with a tiny camera on one end is passed into the GI tract while the patient is under conscious sedation. A combination of history, physical examination, and selected tests are used to help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. No single blood test or X-ray study confirms a diagnosis of IBS.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2016
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Preventive

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Irritable Bowel Disease »

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional GI disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of specific and unique organic pathology.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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