1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  2. Gut Health

Nicholas Rush, RDN, CDN

February 5, 2023

What is IBS and How is it Diagnosed?

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder with symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. While the cause of IBS is unknown, it’s likely multifactorial. Proposed causes include;

  • Altered gastrointestinal motility;
  • Visceral hypersensitivity; 
  • Impaired perception and processing of information by the brain; 
  • Low grade inflammation;
  • Immune system activation;
  • Intestinal permeability; and
  • Alterations in the gut microbiota.

Currently, there is no single test that can definitely diagnose IBS, but is often based on the presence of specific symptoms using Rome IV criteria, medical history, and physical examination. It’s important to note that other conditions (i.e. celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease, cancers, pelvic floor disorders, endometriosis, endocrine disorders, pancreatic insufficiency, ect.) that could cause similar symptoms must be ruled out before a diagnosis of IBS can be made. 

Unfortunately, no cure for IBS exists but symptoms can be managed through treatments and lifestyle changes.

One such treatment is using the Low FODMAP diet to investigate potential trigger foods. The Low FODMAP diet is a three phase elimination diet with the goal to reduce symptoms and customizing a long-term diet plan that works for you. Check my blog post, “The Low FODMAP Diet: What It Is and How It Can Help IBS” for more detailed information specifically on the diet. 

Why do people with IBS experience symptoms when consuming FODMAPS? 

People with IBS experience sensation of pain, discomfort, bloating, and changes in bowel habits due to disturbances in gut motility and/or heightened gut sensitivity, especially after consuming foods containing short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPS). FODMAPS are types of carbohydrates found in many foods that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine by all humans, but can trigger digestive symptoms in some people.  This gut hypersensitivity is in response to otherwise normal levels of gas and fluid in the gut.

If you suspect that you have IBS, schedule an appointment with your doctor (preferably a GI specialist). 

Reach out to me at [email protected] or click the link below to schedule a free 15-minute consultation if you have been diagnosed with IBS and are ready to enhance your quality of life through the Low FODMAP diet.

Halcyon Health
Nicholas Rush, RDN, CDN
E: [email protected]
P: 914-809-3456
IG: @halcyonhealth1