October 7th, 2010
In case of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) there is no blood test or any special examination, which could be used to straightly diagnose this disease.
IBS shares the same general symptoms with some other bowel diseases, but it lacks symptoms that are specific for it. Therefore, IBS diagnosis is based on general symptoms excluding the symptoms specific for other abdominal diseases, found in course of appropriate investigations. For example, an experienced physician can easily distinguish IBS from colorectal cancer as the latter has its specific symptoms.
It is reasonable for the patient to let their doctor decide which tests should be made to find out the real disease. Here are common bowel diseases that share symptoms with irritable bowel syndrome.
Lactose intolerance occurs in patients whose small intestine can’t digest milk sugar, which results in bloating and diarrhea. Obviously, these symptoms are pretty much similar to those occurring in case of IBS. To make proper diagnosis a patient sticks to a strict milk-free diet for two weeks. If it relieves symptoms significantly, it usually indicates that he has lactose intolerance. Otherwise, the probability of irritable bowel syndrome is very high.
Celiac disease, is a disease of small intestine that is caused by a reaction to gliadin and other proteins found in wheat and other crops. It common symptoms are abdominal inflammation, diarhhea, fatigue, etc. IBS is diagnosed in case of negative results in course of gluten-free diet.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis also have symptoms similar to IBS: abdominal pain, bloody stools, diarhhea, vomiting, weight loss, etc. Diagnosis is made after colonoscopy with biopsy.