Welcome to our ‘Do I have IBS quiz!’
Have you been suffering from digestive issues? You might wonder if you have IBS.
Take our Do I have IBS quiz to help you assess if you have symptoms similar to IBS.
Disclaimer: Our ‘Do I have IBS quiz’ is for general education purposes only. It is not a validated quiz and it cannot confirm an IBS diagnosis. Please speak to your doctor for a diagnosis.
What is IBS?
People often suffer from abdominal pain, cramps, excessive gas and abnormal bowel patterns.
What are the different subtypes of IBS?
IBS can be categorised based on the type of bowel movement problems you have.
There are three main subtypes of IBS (3):
- IBS-C (predominant constipation) – most of your stools are hard and lumpy
- IBS-D (predominant diarrhoea) – most of your stools are loose and watery
- IBS-M with mixed bowel habits – stools that alternate between hard and lumpy (constipation) and loose and watery (diarrhoea)
How do you know if you have IBS?
Not everyone with IBS has the same symptoms as each individual is different. However, you may have IBS if you experience these common IBS signs and symptoms (4):
- Abdominal pain
You can read more about the symptoms of IBS here.
You can also take our Do I have IBS quiz below to help you assess if your symptoms are similar to IBS.
The ‘Do I have IBS’ quiz
Below is a list of 10 questions designed to help you determine if you might have IBS. These questions are based on the Rome IV Criteria to diagnose IBS (4). Please note that this alone can not diagnose your IBS and if you are experiencing any digestive problems you should see your doctor.
- Have you experienced abdominal pain for at least 3 months?
- Do you experience abdominal pain at least 3 days or more per week?
- Are your symptoms related to opening your bowels / pooping ?
- Do you experience frequent bloating?
- Do you experience excessive gas?
- Do you experience a change in your frequency of stools?
- Do you experience frequent constipation?
- Do you experience frequent diarrhoea?
- Do you experience a mixture of diarrhoea and constipation at least once a week?
- Have you experienced food poisoning or had a nasty bug in the past?
What do your results mean?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may have IBS. BUT, our ‘Do I have IBS Quiz’ is to assess if your symptoms could be IBS. It does not act as a diagnosis.
The above symptoms can also be related to other conditions like coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and even bowel cancer.
So, you MUST get tested by your doctor to find out.
You can check out which tests you need in our IBS diagnosis guide.
Questions 1-2: Abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is frequent for many people with IBS. It typically is crampy and varies in intensity.
One of the criteria for IBS diagnosis is recurrent abdominal pain at least 1 day on average per week for at least 3 months or longer (5).
Question 3: Related to opening your bowels
Another diagnostic criteria is that the symptoms are related to defecation. Symptoms tend to improve after stool has been passed (6).
Question 4-5: Gas and bloating
Excess gas and bloating are both symptoms of IBS.
Dealing with bloating and gas can be difficult. However, there are ways to achieve instant bloating relief.
Question 6: Change in your frequency of stools
A change in stool frequency to either an increase or decrease is another sign of IBS (8).
The frequency of bowel movements can range from 3 times a day to 3 times a week.
However, your ‘normal’ pattern may be different from these numbers. So, if you are going less or more often than usual, you may have IBS.
Question 7-9: Changes in bowel movements
Changes in your bowel movement is another sign of IBS (9). These questions help to identify your IBS subtype.
If you answer ‘YES’ to:
Question 10: Post-infectious IBS
There is a small subgroup whose IBS symptoms happen after a gut infection (gastroenteritis). This is called post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS).
If you answered ‘YES’ to this question, you might have post-infectious IBS.
You can read more about post-infectious IBS here.
Should you see a doctor?
You should see your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this post.
Testing for IBS diagnosis
There is no diagnostic test for IBS specifically, instead you will need to have tests which rule out other conditions. Click here to read more on what tests you need for IBS.
In the meantime, if you are waiting for an IBS diagnosis, you can focus on several lifestyle aspects to see if they help your symptoms.
In general, you should aim to eat a healthy balanced diet and a regular meal pattern (12). Try to eat at the same time every day to have a more regular bowel movement pattern.
Try to drink 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid daily (13).
Click here for a step to step guide to managing IBS for more dietary changes.
You may want to keep a food diary when making dietary changes as you may find that certain foods can trigger your gut symptoms.
Click here for a free food, mood and symptom diary. It can help you learn more about your body and how it can react to your diet, exercise, stress and sleep.
You should work with a Registered Dietitian before avoiding or restricting your diet to ensure that your diet is nutritionally adequate.
Regular exercise can stimulate contractions in your gut and reduce stress, providing symptom relief (14).
It is recommended to have at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity every week (15).
You can read more here about how exercise can improve gut health.
Stress and anxiety can contribute to IBS symptoms.
If you struggle to cope with stress, you can also try counseling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
I hope you found our ‘Do I have IBS quiz’ helpful in assessing if your symptoms could be IBS.
However, this quiz should not be used as a diagnostic test. You should see your doctor for a correct diagnosis.
Meanwhile, you can try to make some lifestyle changes to reduce any uncomfortable symptoms you might be experiencing. Not all these tips will work for everyone. However, you can figure out what works for you.
Serena is a UK HCPC Registered Dietitian with a keen interest in IBS and gut health. Serena graduated from Coventry University in 2021 with an upper second class in Dietetics and Human Nutrition.