Self-Diagnosed IBS? 2 Reasons It Is Important To Get An Official Diagnosis

Posted on: 10 May 2016

With the large amount of information available today on the internet, it is natural to perform an internet search to see what illness your physical symptoms may stem from. However, if you self-diagnosed yourself with IBS, realize that it is important to obtain an official diagnosis from your doctor. It can be all-too-easy to link your symptoms to a disorder that is so common today, but here are two reasons you may be harming your health by self-diagnosing. 

1. Your Symptoms Could Signal IBD or Celiac Disease

If you are unfamiliar with IBD, then you may have even run across this acronym while trying to find out what illness is causing your symptoms and simply thought it was a type of IBS. While the acronyms are similar, IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Early symptoms of IBD are also easily mistaken for simple IBS. However, IBD is very different from IBS, and the main two types of IBD are Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. 

While IBS can be an extreme annoyance in your life, IBD is much more severe and when untreated and diagnosed, can continue to worsen. People with IBD are also at a higher risk of developing colon cancer, which IBS would not increase your chances of developing. 

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis occur when a person's immune system attacks their colon and/or other parts of their intestinal tract due to mistaking these important organs as "invaders." The first symptoms of both of these diseases is often diarrhea, stomach cramping, and gas. If you have one of these symptomss and not IBS, then it important to know, so you can take the medications you need to help keep the diseases from progressing and begin obtaining regular colon cancer screenings. 

Another disease that has similar symptoms to IBS is Celiac Disease. This disease is caused by a gluten allergy, and the most noticeable symptom is also diarrhea.

2. You Can Receive Advice and Prescriptions to Manage Your Disease More Effectively After Diagnosed

Once you obtain an official diagnosis and know what disease or disorder you really have, you can receive the proper treatment to manage it. If you do find out you have IBS, then you will have many more treatment options than you have access to over the counter. There are several prescription medications now approved to manage IBS, and your doctor can prescribe one to help manage your symptoms and help you lead a normal life again. 

If you have frequent diarrhea, stomach cramping, and/or gas, then it can be all-too-easy to decide you have IBS and begin trying one over-the-counter remedy after another. Some may help, and some may not. However, it is important to see your doctor to find out if IBS is the true cause of your symptoms and begin treatment to control either your IBS or another health problem that is causing your symptoms.  For more information, talk to a professional like Naugatuck Valley Gastroenterology Consultants LLC.