DR ELLIE CANNON: My IBS has got worse… is it something more serious? 

Mail Online | 6/1/2019 | Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday
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Q. A few years ago I started having regular stomach upsets and going to the toilet five times a day.

I was diagnosed with IBS and given medication, but the pain is getting worse. My GP is refusing to arrange an MRI or CT scan. Could it be something more serious?

A - Irritable - Bowel - Syndrome - IBS

A. Irritable bowel syndrome, also called IBS, can only be diagnosed when other issues have been ruled out. Sadly, there is no specific test that proves someone has IBS, instead we rule out other conditions such as bowel disease and cancer.

The pain in IBS usually changes after going to the toilet, either improved or worsened. Many also have extreme bloating and frequent diarrhoea or constipation. Symptoms are often debilitating, causing huge disruption to sufferers’ lives.

Scan - Symptoms - Series - Blood - Tests

An internal scan wouldn’t be suitable or practical for these symptoms, but a series of blood tests would be useful.

This can rule out the autoimmune condition coeliac disease, highlight anaemia resulting from bowel cancer or show inflammation caused by bowel disease.

IBS - Cause - Symptoms - Blood - Tests

If IBS is the cause of symptoms, blood tests will be normal. For absolute clarity, a colonoscopy would be key.

Q. I have rheumatoid arthritis and have been advised to take a drug called methotrexate. I’ve since learned this is chemotherapy: should I be scared?

A - Methotrexate - Type - Chemotherapy - Cancer

A. Methotrexate is a type of chemotherapy used in cancer treatment. But it has other uses including treating rheumatoid arthritis, whereby...
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