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IBS Glossary > Rome Criteria for Diagnosis

Rome Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosis

IBS is a physical - not psychological - disorder that affects mainly the bowel, and is characterized by lower abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, constipation (or alternating diarrhea/constipation), gas, bloating, and nausea.
(See what an IBS attack literally looks like.)

IBS is not a disease, it's a functional disorder, and it's actually characterized as a brain-gut dysfunction.

To date, gut-directed IBS hypnosis is the only treatment researchers have called a "cure" for the brain-gut dysfunction that underlies IBS.

Because IBS is not a disease, diagnosis depends in part on determining whether or not your symptoms match those that have been medically established as definitive of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The Rome Criteria are the current standard for this definition.

The Rome diagnostic criteria of Irritable Bowel Syndrome always presumes the absence of a structural or biochemical explanation for the symptoms and is made only by a physician.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The Importance of Diagnosis


Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be diagnosed based on at least 12 weeks (which need not be consecutive) in the preceding 12 months, of abdominal discomfort or pain that has two out of three of these features:

1. Relieved with defecation; and/or
2. Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool; and/or
3. Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.

Symptoms that Cumulatively Support the Diagnosis of IBS:
1. Abnormal stool frequency (may be defined as greater than 3 bowel movements per day and less than 3 bowel movements per week);

2. Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool);

3. Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation);

4. Passage of mucus;

5. Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension.

Supportive Symptoms of IBS:
1. Fewer than three bowel movements a week
2. More than three bowel movements a day
3. Hard or lumpy stools
4. Loose (mushy) or watery stools
5. Straining during a bowel movement
6. Urgency (having to rush to have a bowel movement)
7. Feeling of incomplete bowel movement
8. Passing mucus (white material) during a bowel movement
9. Abdominal fullness, bloating, or swelling

Red Flag symptoms which are NOT typical of IBS:
Pain that often awakens/interferes with sleep
Diarrhea that often awakens/interferes with sleep
Blood in your stool (visible or occult)
Weight loss
Fever
Abnormal physical examination

Once you have a firm IBS diagnosis, take heart. While there is no cure yet, there are many ways to successfully manage - and prevent - all IBS symptoms. You can control your IBS, not vice versa.

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   Heather's IBS Diet Cheat Sheet for All Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms     
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If you're confident that you've been properly diagnosed with IBS, there are several key IBS treatments for successfully managing symptoms:

* Follow the explicit IBS diet guidelines and IBS safe recipes

* Try the only possible cure for IBS, gut-directed hypnotherapy

* Inform yourself with the best-selling and best-reviewed IBS books available

* Find the most helpful IBS supplements for specific symptoms

* Come join our IBS community

You can choose IBS treatments that are symptom-specific from the chart below.

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