Irritable Bowel Syndrome falls under the category of Medically Unexplained Disorder or Disease (MUD). Also included in this category is Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Professor Carson at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital says MUD develops when the brain's control of the body becomes faulty.
There were no clear guidelines as to what symptoms or combination of symptoms lead to a diagnosis of IBS until the Manning Criteria was established in 1978.
The Manning Criteria: A patient has Irritable Bowel Syndrome if there is abdominal pain and at least two of the listed symptoms in the absence of any structural disease.
o Abdominal pain eased after defecation.
o More frequent bowel movement at onset of pain.
o Loose stools at onset of pain.
o Mucus with stools.
o Feeling of incomplete emptying.
Manning et al. 1978.
Today doctors use the Rome 11 Criteria.
Rome 11 Criteria:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the diagnosis if there is abdominal pain or discomfort for a duration of 12 weeks or more in a year with two of the three features listed in the absence of structural or other explanation.
o Pain relief with defecation.
o Change in frequency of stools.
o Change in form of stools.
IBS is very likely if you have all three of the above.
Diarrhoea is when the bowels open three or more times a day. Constipation is when the bowels open three times or less in a week.
Patients who suspect they have Irritable Bowel Syndrome must see their doctor if they have any of the listed symptoms.
o Unexpected weight loss.
o Loss of appetite (anorexia).
o Bleeding from the rectum.
o Symptoms first appearing after the age of 50.
o If you have symptoms of IBS and you have a family history of colon cancer or polyp.
There is a higher incident of haemorrhoids (piles) in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and can cause bleeding from the rectum. Bleeding from the rectum is, however, a red flag symptom and can point to serious underlying disease. Check it out.