recently diagnosed and need advice

Hi I've recently been diagnosed with IBS by my GP.

Im 24 years old and have been suffering from symptoms for the last 4 months. My GP says there is nothing to do but learn what triggers it and has given me some medication for the days I suffer from diarrhoea and indigestion.

I feel a bit lost and upset about what to do as have been given the impression that this is going to be permanent,

Any advice on what to do next?


14 Replies

  • Your dr is right... insofar as learning what triggers it... it can be a real time consuming pain in the derierre...BUT it helps to keep a food diary...this means EVERYTHING you put in your mouth.

    A lot of people are helped by the FODmap diet. I never was, however. What helped me the most was staying away from all grains. ALL. Don't get discouraged. Its easy to do that, but I have a feeling you'll get on top of this thing! You might also made a couple of notes along with your food diary as to whether or not you have had a 'good or bad' day... Keep in touch! Good luck!

  • Hi BettyA,

    I have been keeping a food diary for the last month or so.

    I have found red meat triggers the worst attacks however I cannot seem to see a correlation with anything else.

    Is is normal for you GP to not refer for a colonoscopy before giving a diagnosis?


  • In the UK it's perfectly normal not to get a colonoscopy for a diagnosis of IBS. Blood tests should rule out any inflammation and the colonoscopy is usually used to see where in the gut the inflammation is and sometimes to take a biopsy.

    I think your doctor is a little out of date on some of the latest advice for treating IBS. First of all, there are several types of medication available and it sometimes takes time to find one that works best for you. I'm going to guess he's given you mebeverine or colpermin? Try these first and, if they're not having the desired effect, go back and ask to try something else. The NICE clinical guidelines - see - give a list of the types of drugs you could try.

    Food is also a trigger but the dietary management of IBS can be tricky. I wonder, what do you have your red meat with/how do you cook it. Maybe that could be having an effect. If there are no other obvious triggers, and cutting out red meat isn't stopping the symptoms, you may find the low FODMAP diet would work for you. In clinical studies it has been shown to be effective in up to 75 percent of patients. It's not necessarily a silver bullet but it might help you get back to a more predictable and comfortable life. You can buy recipe books and smart phone apps to help you with the diet, but they do say it really should be done with the help of a dietician. They might also be able to rule in/out other possible dietary causes.

    Another thing to monitor in your food diary is your mood. My IBS flares up when I am anxious, and chronic anxiety was probably the initial cause of my symptoms as well. I'm now seeing a therapist to help me get to grips with my anxiety and I'm seeing improvements in my IBS at the same time. However, there are other causes like food poisoning and gastrointestinal infections that might be causes. Did anything significant happen in your life around the time you first started experiencing symptoms?

  • Hi patientj,

    I asked to be referred to a dietician but the GP said they wouldn't be able to help. Which I found odd.

    I've looked at the FODMAP diet today and my diet is pretty much that anyway other than milk.

    Had a look at NICE guidance and I'm on one of the listed medications, the one beginning with 'l'..

    I have been really stressed these last year. But that has started to settle but my IBS hasn't seemed to correlate with this.

    The doctor i saw was a locum not my regular GP, I don't know whether it is worth making another appointment and getting a second opinion on a referral to a dietician?



  • If your GP said a dietician wouldn't be able to help then he or she is definitely woefully outdated on NICE guidelines and the clinical management of IBS. I'd definitely go back and ask for a referral. Alternatively, you can go private, and some NHS dieticians allow you to self-refer.

    I know you said that most of your diet is like the low FODMAP diet but sometimes even the smallest doses of things can cause problems. Some people have problems from the smallest amount of garlic for instance. You can find a list of low FODMAP diet trained dieticians here - - they should all be able to give a range of advice on dietary management of IBS but only the people listed on the King's website are those who have been trained on the low FODMAP diet. I went private. Prices vary by dieticians, but I only needed a couple of sessions.

    I also wonder whether the stress could be playing an unconscious role. I hadn't realised I was suffering from anxiety for years until last year.

    I'm acutely aware that I'm trying to recommend solutions that worked for me on to you so I hope I don't come across as evangelical. There are plenty of options out there. IBS doesn't have to be a diagnosis for life but it can take some time to figure out how best to manage it. We're all happy to answer questions on this forum.

  • Yes, its common NOT to be referred to getting a colonoscopy... That usually happens only when there are symptoms that are severe enough to require one: such as bleeding, unusual pain that cannot be explained or figured out, etc... That's good that you are keeping a food diary! :) Continue with it! Good luck Harri~! :)

  • First thing is you are not alone. Secondly don't let it run your life as you will learn to run it and there are people I know that through being careful have managed to be symptom free. Be aware of your body and you will learn what triggers it which is important. Good luck.

  • PM me

  • Ask your GP to refer you to a dietician that will help you with the FODMAP diet. I have never been so well and I have only been doing FODMAP for 2.5 weeks. I have been suffering for 35 years.

  • Have you had a colonoscopy to determine that there is no other cause for your symptoms

    You can try your own intolerance tests by leaving one food group, like dairy, out of your diet for at least 2/3 weeks keeping a food and bowel movement diary to see what changes there might be

  • Try and follow the fodmap diet plan, it really can help immensely but not magical immediate results. Cut out garlic and onions and leeks ( except for the green parts ) and use asafoetida powder for flavour in their place ( 1/2 - 1 teaspoon for 2 - 4 serving in cooking Bolognese stews etc ) even if you're not gluten intolerant it can help to cut down on foods containing gluten. Cut down on sugars and use lactose free dairy products. Low fat can help, but beware of added sugars in these products as that would be worse. Bad days good home made soups may help as they tend to digest more easily. Treat this as if it could be long term and hope it's not forever, but you'll find the fodmap diet list is not as restrictive as you might think. If symptoms persist, don't let your doctor off the hook, insist on a referral. Good luck, wishing you well.

  • hi

    need not be permant. keep a food diary and record of ibs. get a lactose test.avoid spicy/ gassy drinks for now.



  • Hi Harri,

    It's definitely worth getting a second opinion from another doctor. I don't have a regular doctor and have seen about 8 different ones over the last year. The last one I got was very understanding and advised I cut out diary (I seemed to have got IBS after a bad case of gastroenteritis and she said its common for dairy to upset the stomach most after that). She also referred me to a specialist so looking forward to seeing what they have to say. It's worth seeing what another doctor says.


  • I've had ibs for almost 10 years (diagnosed when I was 15) I know its going to be hard and horrible (trust me) but the best thing to do is keep a food diary and learn your triggers. Mine is caffeine and greasy food. Your triggers can change so try to keep on top. If you want to talk about it just message me. I'll be glad to help as I didn't have any help and I learnt how deal as I went along :-)

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