Irritable Bowel Syndrome signs and symptoms – expert on ‘often misdiagnosed’ disorder

By Staff 6 Min Read

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the most common disorder of the digestive system, with up to one-third of the UK population experiencing symptoms. One expert says it’s often misdiagnosed

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common disorder that affects up to a third of the UK population but it’s often misdiagnosed, according to an expert.

Daniel Pope-Finney, a chartered legal executive at Patient Claim Line, has outlined the symptoms of IBS and offered advice for those who believe they may have been misdiagnosed with temporary gastrointestinal illness or other conditions.

What are the signs of IBS?

The NHS lists the main symptoms of IBS as stomach pains or cramps, bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation. Other symptoms can include flatulence, passing mucus from your bottom, tiredness and a lack of energy, backache, problems peeing, and faecal incontinence.

How is IBS diagnosed?

Your GP will ask about your symptoms, their frequency and duration, and any potential triggers such as certain foods. They may also physically examine your stomach for lumps or swelling, reports Bristol Live.

As there is no specific test for IBS, your GP will conduct tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. This could involve stool sample tests to check for infections and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and a blood test to check for conditions like coeliac disease.

What can relieve IBS symptoms?

The NHS has provided several tips to alleviate the symptoms of IBS, which include finding relaxation techniques and engaging in regular exercise. Preparing meals at home using fresh ingredients and maintaining a food diary to track what you eat and any subsequent symptoms can help identify potential triggers. It’s worth giving probiotics a try for a month to see if they ease your symptoms.

Avoid postponing or skipping meals, and refrain from eating too quickly. Stay away from consuming excessive amounts of fatty, spicy or processed foods, and limit your intake of fresh fruit to no more than three 80g portions per day. Limit your consumption of tea or coffee to no more than three cups daily and steer clear of excessive alcohol or fizzy drinks.

What should you do if your IBS has been misdiagnosed?

IBS is frequently mistaken for a more temporary gastrointestinal illness. If your IBS has been incorrectly diagnosed, you might be taking medication that exacerbates your IBS symptoms. If your IBS is misdiagnosed as another dietary or bowel issue, you could still be experiencing the effects of IBS, despite making lifestyle changes. This means you could potentially make a claim for compensation.

If you have received a delayed diagnosis due to your GP not taking your symptoms seriously or failing to refer you for tests to rule out other conditions, you may have experienced unnecessary suffering. This could provide grounds to make a claim for compensation, according to Daniel.

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