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IBD vs IBS: Which One Is Affecting You? Symptoms and Diagnosis

Video Transcript:

Hi everyone. Welcome back to our channel.

We know that gut health plays a vital role in our overall health and any disruption in our gut can have significant effects on our quality of life.

Two conditions that can really wreak havoc on our digestive system are inflammatory bowel disease, also known as IBD and irritable bowel syndrome, which is also known as IBS.

Although they may sound similar, they are two distinct conditions with diverse symptoms, causes and treatments.

And you may be wondering which one is affecting you.

So in today's video we'll review IBD versus IBS, including their similarities, differences, and common symptoms we see with each as well as ways to manage them.

Hi, I'm Katie Bailey. I'm a gut health dietician at Oswald Digestive Clinic where we help individuals improve and resolve their bothersome gut issues.

If you're interested in learning more about gut health, I have linked our free guide five Ways to Improve Your Gut Health Below in the Description Box.

Okay, so let's get started on today's topic.


IBS is a condition that is characterized by abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation.

IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation of the GI tract and can lead to significant damage.

You may be wondering how can I tell the difference between IBS and IBD?

So in regards to symptoms, IBD can have the abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements just like IBS, but it also has more severe symptoms sometimes like weight loss, bleeding, nausea and vomiting, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, among many other things.

With IBS, there are no abnormal physical findings on a colonoscopy and are generally diagnosed using the Rome IV criteria once all other possible GI conditions are ruled out.

Rome IV Criteria

If you're not familiar with the Rome IV criteria, it requires that you have recurrent abdominal pain for at least one day a week over the past three months and is associated with a change in the frequency in the form of your stool.

With IBD, there are observed physical changes to the colon found on a colonoscopy as well as elevated inflammation markers that are found either through lab tests or biopsies of the tissue in the colon.

Overall, the major differences that IBD is an inflammatory condition that can cause more severe symptoms and damage while IBS is associated with ultra bowel movements and causes discomfort.

But no visible damage IBD symptoms tend to be chronic and progressive while IBS symptoms can be more sporadic.

So now that we've discussed the differences between the two, we're now going to look at:

What are the three types of IBD and IBS?

The first type of IBD is called Crohn's disease, which is an inflammatory disease that can affect any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus.

Although there is damaged tissue, there can be areas normal tissue found in between the damaged tissues.

The second one is called ulcerative colitis and this is an inflammatory disease that affects the colon or the rectum.

And the area affected is usually a continuous line of damage, unlike with Crohn's being spotty and it's also associated with more bleeding than with Crohn's.

And then the last one is called indeterminate colitis inflammatory disease, and this is an inflammatory disease that presents with both characteristics of Crohn's and colitis.

Now there are also three different types of IBS.

The first is called IBS-C, which is the constipation subtype, meaning that people experience more frequent constipation and then diarrhea is rare.

The second is IBS-D, which is the diarrhea subtype, meaning that people experience more frequent diarrhea and constipation is rare.

And then the last one is IBS-M, which is the mixed subtype, meaning that people are going to experience both frequent constipation and diarrhea.

Now you may be wondering, can IBS turn into IBD?

The possibility of an individual with IBS progressing and eventually becoming diagnosed with IBD is a possibility, which is why it's so important to find the root cause of your symptoms and try to manage the condition before it gets worse.

IBS can progress to the point where inflammation occurs or there's damage occurring over time, which can then lead to a diagnosis of IBD.

This is because both IBS and IBD do have some overlapping root causes like stress and food allergies and intolerances, inflammation and infection.

The most common symptoms we see with IBS are abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.

Common symptoms we see with IBD are abdominal pain changes in your stool and nausea and vomiting.

Now you may be wondering:

What are some other symptoms of IBD that are non GI related?

People with IBD may also experience fever, weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, joint and skin issues as well.

What about your stool?

What is your stool like with IBD?

Well, IBD stools tend to be abnormal in that they're either experiencing diarrhea or constipation.

Blood and mucus is also very common to see in the stool.

And you may also see yellow stool or really foul smelling stool if the IBD is causing the malabsorption of nutrients.

Now it's important to remember that not everyone with IBS and IBD are going to have the same symptoms or severity or food triggers.

What foods do trigger IBS?

While that's like I said going to vary per individual, but there are some key foods that people with IBS do generally have difficulty with.

Things like gluten and dairy and highly processed foods, excess sugar and some fermentable carbohydrates.

It's important to work with a professional to determine your specific food triggers so that you can have some relief while they work on the root cause of the problem.

Now that we know a little bit more about IBS and IBD,

ibs vs. ibd. red vegetable soup with lemons

How do you manage IBS and IBD?

IBS treatment generally involves lifestyle changes like modifying your diet, increasing low intensity exercise and stress management.

IBD treatment is generally associated with medications or supplements to help decrease inflammation and also some lifestyle changes.

Similar to IBS, sometimes surgery is done to remove damaged parts of the digestive system.

Living with IBS and IBD can be challenging so I highly recommend that you work with a professional to help ease your symptoms while getting to the root cause of the problem.

We work with clients all the time that have IBS or IBD and is possible to get symptom relief if you have the right strategies and tools.

To wrap up our topic for today, IBS and IBD can really wreak havoc on the digestive system and cause uncomfortable symptoms.

IBS causes abdominal pain and alter bowel movements but no visible damage while IBD can be associated with inflammation.

More severe symptoms and tissue damage in the large intestines.

It's important to determine which one is affecting you so that you can get the help that you need to get to the root cause and help you start feeling better.

If you liked this video, please hit the like button and subscribe for more nutrition videos.

I hope you found this video about IBD versus IBS to be helpful.

And if you're interested in working with our clinic, you can click the link below in the description box to make an appointment.

We do take insurance and you can find more information about that on our website.

Thanks for watching, I'll see you next time.

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If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic.  We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

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Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH  


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