How do I know if I have IBS?
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a chronic gut condition that affects 1 in 20 people in the UK. Although the exact cause is unknown, it has been linked to stress, oversensitive nerves in your gut or even family history. Read our blog for more information on what causes IBS.
Testing for IBS
There is no specific test for IBS, but your doctor may arrange other tests to rule out things, such as a blood test to check for coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and infection. If you book an appointment with your GP to talk about your IBS symptoms you may be asked:
- what symptoms you have
- if they come and go
- how often you get them
- when you get them (eg. after eating certain foods)
- how long you've had the symptoms for
Tips to relieve your IBS symptoms
Here a few tips you can try to help relieve symptoms of IBS:
- Cook homemade meals using fresh ingredients when you can. Read our healthy eating guide for tips
- Keep a diary of what you eat and any symptoms you get
- Try to find ways to relax, why not start with our blog post on yoga for mindfulness?
- Get plenty of exercise, read our exercise guide for tips on how much exercise you need
- Try probiotics for a month to see if they help
How to monitor your IBS symptoms
If you think you might have IBS keep a food diary to help you and your GP identify the types of food that may be triggering your symptoms. Simply jot down what you had for each meal plus drinks and snacks. Fill it in sooner rather than later after each meal, to prevent forgetting what you ate. Go in to as much detail as you can, not forgetting to include portion sizes and how the food was prepared. Try and keep the food diary for at least 2 weeks, including two weekends. If you're eating at a restaurant or at friend’s house don’t forget to take it with you. And, remember to be honest!Download our IBS food diary