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Patients and
their symptoms
 

  • A diagnosis of IBS can be considered if any of the below signs/symptoms have been present for at least 6 months.[1]
  • AAbdominal pain or discomfort - IBS pain is often described as ‘stabbing', ‘sharp' and ‘intense' (not a ‘burning' sensation like indigestion or heartburn) and it is caused by spasms in the digestive tract.
  • BBloating or swelling of the abdomen - some IBS sufferers say the abdominal bloating caused by IBS can even make them ‘look pregnant' or affect what clothes they wear.
  • CChanges in your patient's bowel habits – a change in what is normal for your patient to either constipation or diarrhoea and sometimes alternating between the two.

Red flag indicators[1]

Patients should be asked if they have any of the following 'red flag' indicators:

  • Unintentional and unexplained weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • A family history of bowel or ovarian cancer
  • Change in bowel habit to looser and/or more frequent stools persisting for more than 6 weeks (in a person aged over 60)

They should also be assessed and examined for the following 'red flag' indicators:

  • Anemia
  • Abdominal masses
  • Rectal masses
  • Inflammatory markers for inflammatory bowel disease