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Doubt to have IBS. Have lost bowels many times. What is it?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
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hello. i am 23 and am a male. i doubt i have irritable bowel syndrome. i lost my bowels 4 times for the past 6 years and i have no other symptoms. and 2 of them recently in the past 6 months.i want to know is that really ibs because i hold it for a long time for about 30 minutes and due to unavailability of washroom i lost my bowels. please clarify me because am feeling very embarrassed and am unable to discuss with anyone. is this ibs or fecal incontinence please help me out
Posted Sat, 31 Aug 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 52 minutes later

Thank you for the query.

It is very common that IBS is misdiagnosed. IBS can be diagnosed if all other possible diseases are ruled out. To do that many tests needs to be done including: abdominal CT with oral contrast, gastroscopy, colonoscopy, blood work, liver tests, urine analysis, stool test, stool culture test.
IBS is not a disease. Its a group of diseases which are still unknown for present medicine. If doctor says about IBS it means "I do not know what is causing your symptoms".
I assume that the stools which you have lost were loose. Such stools can be caused by chronic bacterial infection, hyperthyroid or inflammatory bowels disease (Crohns disease).

From this conditions, Crohns disease should be ruled out at first. It appears at your age. Gives diarrhea and abdominal pains (cramping) which can come and go (flare ups). Mucus and blood in the stool can appear. Weight loss and nausea can be present as well.

Chronic bacterial infection is quite common reason of such symptoms and very often is misdiagnosed as IBS. Luckily we have a great medicine for such infection. It is Rifaximine. Some doctors start with this medicine before any diagnostics.

I suggest you to:
- have stool test, stool culture test, abdominal ultrasound, blood work, liver tests, urine analysis,
- if there will be blood in the stool, lot of WBC in the stool, no chronic infection, or you have weight loss or other mentioned symptom, colonoscopy should be done

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
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