Home » Innovations » Is It IBS or IBD? A Simple Stool Test Zeroes in on the Answer
Sponsored

LifeLabs’ Fecal Calprotectin stool test lets patients and practitioners confidently rule out inflammatory causes for chronic diarrhea.


Many Canadians suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, regularly experiencing symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and chronic diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common — it’s estimated that up to 18 percent of Canadians suffer from it, and over 70 percent indicate that IBS symptoms interfere with their everyday life. IBS is a group of symptoms that occur due to physical or psychological causes. While people with IBS have frequent symptoms, their intestines don’t become damaged by chronic inflammation.

By contrast, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which affects over 200,000 Canadians, refers to a group of inflammatory conditions of the intestines. It encompasses Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Differentiating between the two can be life-saving.

IBS or IBD: an important distinction

IBS can be managed with diet and exercise, and under the care of your family physician. You don’t need to be referred to a GI clinic to get diagnosed for IBS.

IBS and IBD have similar symptoms, like chronic diarrhea, which can make diagnosis confusing. Since IBD involves inflammation of the intestines, it’s considered a serious condition and proper diagnosis is very important. Those with IBD should work with a GI specialist to help them manage their condition, as they’re at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, blood clots, and other life-threatening complications.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common — it’s estimated that up to 18 percent of Canadians suffer from it, and over 70 percent indicate that IBS symptoms interfere with their everyday life.

Since IBS and IBD might present with similar symptoms but affect the body in vastly different ways, people with GI-related symptoms should get tested to determine whether they have intestinal inflammation. Additionally, people being treated for IBD should be periodically tested to monitor their treatment’s effectiveness and to predict future relapses. Fortunately, there’s a simple test that can help.

Differentiating between IBS and IBD with a simple test

LifeLabs, a Canadian-owned company that has been serving the health care needs of Canadians for more than 50 years and Canada’s largest community laboratory services provider, offers the Fecal Calprotectin stool test. This test lets physicians rule out inflammatory causes of chronic diarrhea, so referrals to a GI specialist are only made for IBD (inflammatory) and not IBS (non-inflammatory) cases. “In the evaluation of patients with undifferentiated GI symptoms with an elevated concern for the possibility of IBD, a Fecal Calprotectin level can be helpful in identifying those requiring further, more invasive investigation such as a colonoscopy,” explains Dr. Ted Xenodemetropoulos, a gastroenterologist and professor at McMasterUniversity in Hamilton, ON.

The Fecal Calprotectin test is a must-have for IBD patients,” says Jeff Suggitt, CEO of the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. “There’s no bowel preparation required, it’s effective at identifying active disease, and it’s a great alternative to an intestinal biopsy or colonoscopy.” If you suspect that you’re suffering from IBS or IBD, talk to your family physician about the Fecal Calprotectin test today.

Next article