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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

How well do you know the warning signs for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

There are many factors that can contribute to IBS, including stress, hormones, food, and other diseases and illnesses. Catching IBS in the early stages of development is essential in preventing other long-term gastrointestinal conditions and embarrassing flatulence and bloating. Spotting the common symptoms in patients before the higher stages of pain begin is the first step to gut wellness.

The most common early IBS symptoms include constipation, stomach or abdominal aches and pains, bloating, frequent restroom trips, lower back pain, sleeping issues due to discomfort, bowel cramps, incomplete bowel movements, and mucous in the stools. The consistent symptoms of IBS can affect an individual’s every day comfort and quality of life, which is why understanding what to look for in the early stages in essential.

Head of inflammatory bowel disease at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Professor Jane Andrews wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia that faecal Calprotectin tests are one of the few tests that can reliably discriminate between functional and organic disease.

Most IBS patient’s experience “delayed diagnosis, lengthy wait times for specialist review, over-investigation and lack of clear diagnostic communication”. Andrews concludes that early IBS symptoms, diagnosis and management “can be rolled out from specialty practice to broader care, especially via GPs”. Dr Benedict Clark, a GP in Wonthaggi, Victoria, supports the gastroenterologists’ call for early IBS diagnosis.

“A lot of doctors see a patient who’s got a problem and go straight to a referral or investigations”, he told Australian Doctor. “When I started as a GP 25 years ago, you’d be ashamed to send somebody to a gastroenterologist if they had IBS – you’d feel as though you hadn’t done your job,” he said.

At Australian Clinical Labs, our faecal Calprotectin test measures the levels of Calprotectin as a neutrophilic marker. Increased levels may be associated with digestive infection and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

It can be used to differentiate between Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); to monitor the progression and treatment of IBD and determine whether the patient should be referred for an endoscopy/colonoscopy.

To order a Faecal Calprotectin test kit or for more information, call us on 1300 55 44 80

 

Resources: 

Australian Doctor, Jocelyn Wright. 2017. Be Bold and Diagnose IBS Early, GPs Urged. [ONLINE]
Available at: https://www.australiandoctor.com.au/news/be-bold-and-diagnose-ibs-early-gps-urged. [Accessed 4 October 2017].