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How is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diagnosed?

ANSWER

Basically, IBS is a collection of symptoms that has been ongoing for at least 6 months, and has occurred at least 3 times a month in the past 3 months. IBS always involves abdominal pain or discomfort. This pain must have two of these three characteristics to be diagnosed as IBS:

  • Relieved with defecation
  • Associated with a change in frequency of stool
  • Associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool

SOURCES: 

Jeffrey Roberts, president and founder, IBS Self Help and Support Group. 

American College of Gastroenterology. 

Mayo Clinic. 

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Harvard Health Publications: "Understanding and treating an irritable bowel."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 12, 2017

SOURCES: 

Jeffrey Roberts, president and founder, IBS Self Help and Support Group. 

American College of Gastroenterology. 

Mayo Clinic. 

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Harvard Health Publications: "Understanding and treating an irritable bowel."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 12, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

What can trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

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