Skip to main content
Average ER Wait Time
Checking ER Wait Time
The feed could not be reached
Retry?
Cartersville Medical Center
--
mins

Talking to Your Doctor About Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with IBS. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care. For this condition in particular, a good doctor-patient relationship makes a big difference in your quality of life.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About the Diagnosis of IBS
  • Have you exhausted the other possible diagnoses?
  • Do you think bacterial overgrowth is worth looking into?
  • Do you think celiac disease is worth looking into?
About Your Risk of Developing Complications
  • I need to be reassured that this problem is not progressive or a prelude to cancer or other serious condition. Are there symptoms that might indicate IBS is progressing to something more serious?
About Treatment Options
  • What treatments are available to me?
  • What medications can I try?
    • What benefits and side effects can I expect from these medications?
    • Will any of these medications interact with other supplements or over-the-counter products I'm taking?
  • What do you think of alternative treatments for IBS?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • Beyond what I have done to manage my symptoms, have you any further suggestions?
  • Can you refer me to a registered dietitian who can help me with adjusting my diet?
  • Will exercise help my symptoms?
  • Should I tell me family?
About Outlook
  • Do you know of any clinical trials for IBS?
  • Is there any new research that might make this condition easier to cope with in the future?
  • Can you recommend a support group?

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2015 -
  • Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
  • Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2000.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 1, 2015. Accessed December 18, 2015.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/irritable-bowel-syndrome--(ibs)/irritable-bowel-syndrome--(ibs). Updated July 2013. Accessed December 18, 2015.

  • Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated May 2014. Accessed December 18, 2015.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Cartersville Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.