ZocdocAnswersDo I have irritable bowel syndrome?

Question

Do I have irritable bowel syndrome?

After meals sometimes I have to go the the bathroom immediately. Sometimes I have a bowel movement before I can even finish my meal. It only happens after certain meals though, usually breakfast. Is this irritable bowel syndrome? Maybe a food allergy?

Answer

I don't think that your symptoms are a sign of irritable bowel syndrome or an allergy. I actually think your bowel pattern is quite normal. Many people that have regular and health bowel movements have them in the morning. Eating is associated with a natural gut reflux that gets things moving to have a bowel movement. It is basically the gut's way of saying that if there is new food coming in, we need to get the waste out. Thus, I am happy to hear that this describes you. Now if your symptoms are associated with abdominal pain that is relieved by your bowel movement, or if you have intermittent diarrhea or constipation, then you very well may have irritable bowel syndrome. It is not possible to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome unless some of these symptoms are present. Food allergies can cause abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. They also cause hives and itchiness and in extreme circumstances swelling of the throat, lips, and tongue. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss this issue. He or she will listen to the pattern of your symptoms and perform a thorough abdominal exam. If irritable bowel syndrome is suspected, then you can discuss treatment.

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