When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if:
- You have been diagnosed with
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and your symptoms
get worse, begin to disrupt your activities, or don't respond as usual to
your home treatment.
- You are more tired than usual.
- Your symptoms wake you from sleep.
- You have unexplained weight loss.
- You have decreased appetite.
- You have belly pain that is not linked with changes in
bowel function or that is not relieved when you pass gas or a stool.
- You have belly pain that is now in one area (localized) more
than any other area.
- You see blood in your stool.
- You have a fever.
Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach.
If your symptoms are mild, it might be okay to try home treatment
for 1 week. If you think you may have IBS, try to
rule out other causes of belly problems, such as eating a new food; eating
sugar-rich foods, especially milk products; eating foods containing sorbitol or
other artificial sweeteners; nervousness; or stomach flu. If your symptoms don't get better or if they get worse, call
Who to see
The following health professionals can diagnose and
treat irritable bowel syndrome.
If more tests are needed or your symptoms don't respond
to treatment, it may be helpful to see a doctor who specializes in
treating digestive system problems (gastroenterologist). If stress may be playing a role
in IBS, it may be helpful to see a
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.