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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Are there tests for irritable bowel syndrome?

Are there tests for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Currently, IBS is usually diagnosed by the process of elimination that rule out other GI conditions through colonoscopy, endoscopy and celiac blood tests and biopsies.

However, work done by Dr. Pimentel is working towards developing a test to diagnose IBS and share additional information on this health condition. Pimentel Research Lab | Cedars-Sinai

IBS is a chronic condition. Symptoms include stomach cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation. Some people have cycles of diarrhea and constipation.

IBS is Divided in Three Types

Although people with IBS are individual and don’t fit nicely into three tidy categories but here is how it is often categorized:


D stands for diarrhea predominate IBS. Some people have difficulty making it on time to go to the bathroom but many of these people often find relief with the low fodmap diet.


C refers to the constipation type of IBS. People who have this often have a lot of bloating and pain. They may be less likely to find relief from the low fodmap diet but many do. And there are a lot of tools left to help also.


M is mixed which means the person also cycles between diarrhea and constipation. It is almost a combo of the two types above.

What Causes IBS

The exact cause of IBS has really been determined and people may have different things that trigger it. However, scientists have found some possible reasons:

  • People with IBS may have more pain/pressure receptors that cause discomfort when abdomen stretches from gas or stool. There may also be a lack of communication between brain and intestines which may cause body to overcompensate.
  • Some people may have weaker muscled contractions to move food down the digestive tract which may lead to uncomfortable constipation. That is because the longer stool stays in the colon from sluggish muscle movements, stool becomes drier since colon recycles the water back into the body.
  • Early life stress can increase the likelihood that someone has IBS.
  • The microbes in the gut may be different than people who don’t. And changes in bacteria, fungi and viruses may aggravate the symptoms.
  • Infections in the GI tract from a bacteria or virus can contribute to IBS and if it is severe enough, it can lead to small intestine overgrowth.

The good news is that IBS has not been found to damage bowel tissue or put us at a higher risk for colorectal cancer.

What Triggers IBS and How to Live With It?

Triggers for IBS can come from food and stress. A low fodmap diet and gut focused hypnotherapy can help almost 80% of people with IBS. We will talk more about gut focused hypnotherapy in an upcoming lesson.

To find a dietitian who works with the low fodmap diet check out FODMAP Dietitians Directory – Monash Fodmap

IBS affects quality of life and it can contribute to increased medical costs and job performance. Most of the people who have this health condition are women and our hormones may affect it also. This health condition has been near and dear to my heart because I have suffered from symptoms all my life but did not know that I had it.

Here are some additional information on IBS:

IBS Facts and Statistics – About IBS

Low FODMAP Diet | IBS Research at Monash University – Monash Fodmap

1000+ Low FODMAP Diet Recipes & Resources | FODMAP Everyday