Hello -

Your symptoms must match the Rome Criteria for IBS before you can accept a diagnosis.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterized by symptoms:

Recurrent but intermittent lower abdominal pain or discomfort (from mild to excruciating) in association with altered bowel motility (diarrhea, constipation, or both).

Because IBS is not a disease, but a condition wherein your gastrocolic reflex goes awry, 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 IV Criteria, last updated in 2016, are the current standard for this definition:

You must have at least 1 day per week during the previous 3 months of lower abdominal pain in association with:

1. change in stool frequency and/or
2. change in stool form and/or
3. changes related to defecation

Symptoms that cumulatively support an IBS diagnosis:
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
Abnormal physical examination

Does your IBS diagnosis fit the Rome Criteria?

You are not alone.

P.S. If you have questions or comments I'd love to hear them - just reply to this email to reach me directly. I am overwhelmed with requests but try to answer everyone. For help today please join my private IBS coaching.

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Heather Van Vorous
Heather Van Vorous
Over 40 years dealing with IBS
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