Posted on: 17 May 2022
If you've been experiencing symptoms like cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation for an extended period, you may have irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine.
This condition can be difficult to diagnose because it presents similar symptoms to other disorders such as celiac disease. While no one test can diagnose IBS with complete accuracy, there are several methods healthcare professionals use to test for IBS. This article explores those testing methods in depth.
The Stool Sample Test
The stool sample test looks for evidence of infection or inflammation in the intestine. It can also detect changes in good and bad bacteria levels in the gut. To collect a stool sample, your doctor will give you a special kit that contains a container and instructions. You will need to collect a small stool sample and return it to the lab for testing.
Your doctor may then use the results of your fecal occult blood test and the stool culture. The fecal blood test screens for tiny amounts of blood in the stool that can't be seen with the naked eye. On the other hand, the stool culture test looks for bacteria or parasites that could cause an infection. Both of these tests can be done on the same sample of stool.
If you have IBS, your doctor will likely recommend making changes to your diet and lifestyle. These changes can help relieve your symptoms.
The Lactose Intolerance Test
Lactose intolerance is a condition that prevents the body from digesting lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products. People with lactose intolerance may experience symptoms similar to IBS. That's why your doctor may recommend a lactose intolerance test to rule out this condition.
The lactose intolerance test measures the amount of hydrogen in your breath. When lactose is not digested properly, it ferments in the intestine and produces hydrogen. The hydrogen is then absorbed into the bloodstream and exhaled through the lungs.
During the test, you may need to drink a liquid that contains lactose. Then, you will need to breathe into a machine that measures the amount of hydrogen in your breath.
If you are lactose intolerant, you will have high levels of hydrogen in your breath after drinking the lactose-containing liquid. Your doctor will use the results of this test to make a diagnosis and recommend an IBS treatment plan.
If you have IBS, your doctor may recommend avoiding dairy products or taking lactase supplements to help you digest lactose.Share