At Your Appointment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • How often have you had IBS symptoms in the last month? How long did they last?
  • What symptom or symptoms are most bothersome for you?
  • Rate how your symptoms are affecting your quality of life, relationships, and ability to function. Not at all, somewhat, or significantly?
  • What changes have you made to your diet? Do you see a difference with these changes?
  • How much exercise and physical activity do you get during a typical week?
  • Describe your symptoms. Do you experience abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, excessive gas, or mucus in your stool?
  • Do you primarily have diarrhea or constipation? Or do you have alternating bouts of each?
  • When did you first notice your symptoms? Are they persistent or do they come and go?
  • What foods or other triggers seem to make your symptoms worse?
  • Have you recently been under a lot of stress or had emotional difficulties?
  • Do you have a family history of bowel diseases or colon cancer?
  • What side effects are you noticing with your IBS medicine?
  • What tests and treatments have you had so far?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Have you ever been tested for food allergies or intolerances? What were the results?
  • Do my symptoms mean I have IBS?
  • Could my symptoms be caused by another medical condition?
  • What tests do I need to diagnose IBS?
  • What treatments are available for IBS? What can I expect with medication side effects?
  • How do diet and other lifestyle factors affect IBS?
  • What treatment do you recommend for my type of IBS? What are the side effects?
  • What changes do I need to make to my diet?
  • What other lifestyle changes or therapies could help my IBS?
  • How soon can I expect to see improvements in my symptoms?
  • What is the plan if this treatment does not improve my IBS symptoms?
  • Are there other IBS treatments that would do a better job of controlling my symptoms?
  • Are my new or different symptoms related to IBS or is something else going on?
  • Do you believe my symptoms are due to IBS or another problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease? Why do you think this?
  • What role do stress, emotional difficulties, and lifestyle factors play in IBS?
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Last Review Date: 2018 Sep 17
  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-2036... 
  2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. National Institue of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self-Assessment Questions. NetCE Continuing Education. https://www.netce.com/studypoints.php?courseid=1432&printable=yes&page=printquestions
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