How Can I Tell If I Have IBS?

Wondering if your symptoms might be pointing to IBS? Let’s talk about what to do.

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By Laura Tilt

Recognising the Signs 

The main symptoms of IBS revolve around your gut health; abdominal pain and changes in your poo. This could mean that your poo is looser or harder than usual, or a mix of both. Other symptoms of IBS can include: 

  • Bloating 
  • Distension - where there's a noticeable increase in the size of your tummy 
  • Increased gas or wind 
  • Urgency to poo  

Taking the First Step 

If you’ve had any of these symptoms for longer than a few weeks, it's time to book an appointment with your doctor. While it's tempting to turn to Doctor Google for answers or self-diagnose, it's important you speak to a medical professional. IBS shares the same symptoms as other gut conditions like coeliac disease and Crohn’s so getting the right diagnosis matters. 

What Next?  

When you meet with your doctor, they'll ask about your symptoms and when they started. They will carry out a simple blood test to help figure out whether it is IBS or another cause, helping to get you on the right path to managing your symptoms.  

We know it can feel embarrassing to talk about poo and other gut symptoms with your doctor, but hearing about these symptoms is a normal part of their job. If it helps you feel more comfortable, take a symptom diary with you to help explain what you’ve been experiencing. The more open and honest you are, the better equipped they'll be to understand your situation and provide the right support. 

So, if you suspect IBS is throwing your gut out of whack, take that first step and reach out to your doctor. With the right guidance, managing your symptoms will get a whole lot easier.