It's a question of ruling out other conditions before deciding on IBS, as many digestive problems have similar symptoms. Your doctor will probably order a range of tests, based on the symptoms you report to him, and an examination. IBS tends to be a diagnosis that's employed when all other avenues have been explored.
It may help your doctor if you can keep a food diary and symptoms log for a few days before your appointment. Note down your bowel habits as well. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for your doctor to arrive at the right diagnosis.
Thank-you for the information. I thought maybe it was one of those conditions where other diseases and causes would be ruled out first. Thank-you for the tip on keeping the food journal and writing down my bowel habits to help the doctor have a better idea of what might be going on.
Like Sandra said, it's more about eliminating other possible causes than it is to actually diagnose IBS. It's definitely something that gets labeled when all other options are disproved instead, which is why it can be so hard to diagnose in general and even harder to control. We don't really know what causes it for everyone and people's reactions to medicines or dietary changes are different, so it's a tough one.
Starting the conversation with your doctor is a good idea regardless, though. It starts the path of maybe finding a solution for whatever is causing your issues.
I've actually known for years. Then I decided to go see a gastroenterologist and he confirmed what I have known all along. My mom accompanied me during the visit and she added that I have been experiencing digestive issues since I was a infant. I knew something was up when I was having painful diarrhea episodes as a kid. That has since subsided but I am still constipated from time to time and not as "regular" as I should be. If you don't go everyday then likely something is up.
I'm going to talk to my primary physician about referring me to a gastroenterologist. I've been suffering from sporadic but severe constipation for almost a year. Sometimes I go for long periods of time without having any issues and then I'll go for like over a week without, well, going. I try to eat the daily recommended amount of fiber or more each day and I love prunes and prune juice, but this doesn't always keep me regular. Since it tends to come with a lot of indigestion and sour stomach, I've been thinking that it's IBS. I'll keep a record of how my tummy is for the next few weeks until I can get in to see someone, thank you for the suggestions here.
My brother was monitored for months before being diagnosed with IBS. He had to keep a food diary for 2 weeks, and he had various tests to discount other potential causes. Eventually he was diagnosed with IBS, but it took two months to reach a diagnosis.