What are the symptoms of IBS?
IBS treatment can be difficult because each person who has it experiences a unique set of symptoms that can include a combination of any or all of the following:
Some people with IBS may find their symptoms mildly annoying but manageable and may cope without formal IBS treatment. However, some people with more severe forms of IBS find that the symptoms of IBS can be embarrassing and significantly impact their daily life, to the point that they decide to seek IBS treatment. Most private hospitals in the UK are able to offer IBS treatment with their specialist gastroenterologists, which includes a full range of diagnostic tests and assessments, as well as tailored therapies.
A firm diagnosis must precede IBS treatment
If you have other irritable bowel sundrome symptoms of such as weight loss, blood in your stools, anaemia, or diarrhoea, or you have a family history of bowel disease, it is important to get medical advice rather than assume you have IBS without getting a firm diagnosis.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually made based on your symptoms, though you may need further tests including blood tests, colonoscopy (using a camera to view inside the bowel), endoscopy (using the same technique to check out the oesophagus and stomach), X-ray/barium enema, or a biopsy to rule out more serious conditions such as bowel cancer and ulcerative colitis. You may also need to provide a stool sample to be tested for infection. These tests and appointments can all be arranged quickly and to suit your work commitments if you are able to have private IBS treatment.
IBS treatments: private dietary advice
For some people, changes to diet can be the most effective form of IBS treatment and the dietician will work closely with your gastroenterologist to suggest the most beneficial diet in your case. This can mean eating regularly, drinking more fluids, cutting down on high-fibre foods such as wholegrains and bran, reducing the amount of fruit in your diet (to no more than three portions per day), avoiding artificial sweeteners (such as sorbitol) and avoiding processed foods. Adding oats and linseeds to the diet may also reduce bloating.
Your private healthcare team may also be able to recommend specific diets that may become part of your overall IBS treatment plan. Keeping a food/symptoms diary will help by allowing your specialist to assess your diet, recognise patterns and identify particular foods that may be triggering discomfort or other symptoms. You may also need to undergo testing for food allergies if your diet assessment indicates that your IBS is triggered by specific foods or food groups.
As well as changing your diet, you will also be encouraged to look at stress management and to take regular exercise, which can reduce stress and help to regulate bowel movements.