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How is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diagnosed?

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  • To determine whether your digestive problems are truly IBS, doctors need to see two out of the following three features: A bowel movement relieves the ache and suffering
  • There's a change in how often the stool comes out
  • The stool looks different

The standard diagnostic guideline for IBS, called the Rome III criteria, requires that you have these symptoms for at least 12 weeks during the past 6 months. However, doctors are becoming more flexible on those criteria.

SOURCES: Philip Schoenfeld, MD, MSEd, MSc, co-author of the American College of Gastroenterology's "Evidence-Based Guidelines on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome." Current Psychiatry Web site. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome."


Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on August 30, 2019

SOURCES: Philip Schoenfeld, MD, MSEd, MSc, co-author of the American College of Gastroenterology's "Evidence-Based Guidelines on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome." Current Psychiatry Web site. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome."


Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on August 30, 2019

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When should you see a doctor about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

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