Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if:
- You have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and your symptoms get worse, begin to disrupt your activities, or don't respond as usual to your home treatment.
- You are more tired than usual.
- Your symptoms wake you from sleep.
- You have unexplained weight loss.
- You have decreased appetite.
- You have belly pain that is not linked with changes in bowel function or that is not relieved when you pass gas or a stool.
- You have belly pain that is now in one area (localized) more than any other area.
- You see blood in your stool.
- You have a fever.
Reference Watchful waiting Opens New Window is a wait-and-see approach.
If your symptoms are mild, it might be okay to try home treatment for 1 week. If you think you may have IBS, try to rule out other causes of belly problems, such as eating a new food; eating sugar-rich foods, especially milk products; eating foods containing sorbitol or other artificial sweeteners; nervousness; or stomach flu. If your symptoms don't get better or if they get worse, call your doctor.
Who to see
The following health professionals can diagnose and treat irritable bowel syndrome.
- Reference General practitioner Opens New Window
- Reference Family medicine doctor Opens New Window
- Reference Internist Opens New Window
If more tests are needed or your symptoms don't respond to treatment, it may be helpful to see a doctor who specializes in treating digestive system problems (Reference gastroenterologist Opens New Window). If stress may be playing a role in IBS, it may be helpful to see a Reference psychiatrist Opens New Window or Reference psychologist Opens New Window.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Reference Making the Most of Your Appointment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 5, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology