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IBS vs. IBD Symptoms

Hi all,

So I went to my gastroenterology appointment on Wednesday and same story as the past two and a half years... The modern culture I hate that we live in: "computer knows best". I.e. well you have these symptoms but tests are all clear so you must be fine.

He asked if anyone had suggested that I just had really had IBS, which I personally thought would have been so blatantly obvious to any test if I had, so I'd excluded. Plus, I haven't been able to identify any particular trigger foods so...

I got really upset saying how much this has destroyed my life so he started talking about counselling. They just keep trying to force anti-depressants on me, which he says could actually improve my symptoms. I suspect he's referring to NSAID's. However, I personally don't understand how an anti-inflammatory would be relevant if it was "just" IBS...

Anyway, whilst I am aware of the difference between IBD and IBS, I don't know how to distinguish between the two in terms of symptoms. Eating the same foods can produce massively variable consequences...

All the tests have been all-clear, but I passed some dark blood last night, so if that persists for a few more days I'm hoping the sample I need to return could tell a different story.

Tl;dr- "Difference in symptoms of IBS and IBD?"

Thank you very much
Symptoms may be similars, but the damages they do on the intestine are differents... in case of IBD you are prone to particular ulcers and damages you are not with IBS. Doctors may be able to recognize it through endoscopy etc..
NSAIDS are really hard on the gut, so I don't know why they would suggest them. Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and nortriptyline can indeed help gut pain significantly so they might be worth a try. If you are passing blood your GI definitely needs to look for a cause. Blood tests can be deceiving; my ESR is never high and my CRP is high only when I am sick enough to be hospitalized. I hope you can get some answers soon.
I agree with Jabee, my bloods have only been ‘off’ once or twice before I was diagnosed, and even then not enough to suggest a GI issue specifically. Have you had a faecal calprotectin Test?
Yeah I've had booked and calprotectin etc. But what I'm asking is... Could the sufferer distinguish between IBS/IBD based on symptoms, as tests are all clear?


Well-known member
I KNOW I have IBD but I think I also have IBS.If my symptoms clear up in a few days then I suspect IBS.(pain,nausea,Diarrhea) but add fever,fatigue and blood in stool then it's and IBD flare........dark blood in your stool might suggest inflammation in your small colon so if it continues go back to the doctor.Sometimes we need to make a nuisance of ourselves to get a diagnosis,but if it doesn't feel right to you,then it's Not right.

my little penguin

Staff member
As above NSAIDs can cause ulcers and bleeding without any ibd present at all

Symptoms for ibs and ibd overlap
Constipation/diarrhea /abdominal pain

So the individual person may not be able to tell which is which if they are only having the overlap symptoms
Tests show is there is damage being done and if there is chronic or acute inflammation present
This damage or signs of inflammation are associated with ibd
Ibs does not damage the gut or show up on biopsy results

Antispasmodics (levsin and bentyl) help with abdominal cramping and slow the gut down if there is diarthea

Anti depressants do stop the brain gut connection for pain in some

We took Ds to all formula and slowly added one food at a time to figure out food that were just triggering abdominal pain
Not any foods that I would have previously thought
Formula only also resets his gut

He also takes probiotics which help as well
This is in addition to his ibd meds

You say all tests are clear

Did you have an MRE and pillcam
Crohns can and does hide on the small inywhoch can't be seen by a scope
Thank you this is reassuring. I've had Cat's, MRI and endoscopy of the stomach and early SI, and flexible sigmoidoscopy which I believe examines the large.

I've been adamant that they must have missed something. In the appointment, he said I'd be sent for... Would it be a CT where I have to drink a solution beforehand? This never happened first time round, it was all just basic. Also, Sunderland is the epitome of failure. Half the time they weren't even expecting me at the appointments...

Forgive me if I misunderstood, but the post around reintroducing foods individually not particularly affecting symptoms? And "Formula" - would that be referring to a liquid diet? I've found drinking gallons of unsweetened soya milk to be a lifeline over the years, to decelerate weight loss, and it doesn't trigger the symptoms.

I really just wish they'd go full throttle and open me up for a proper look...

Another serious consideration I have is that all the reference values they have to diagnose IBD. I'll bet my life on them being measured against "otherwise healthy individuals". And I am not an "otherwise healthy individual". I'm neutropenic, but my recent bloods only show me as slightly below the normal range, which to me is indicative of inflammation.
My vit D levels are at the rock bottom of the healthy range. That is simply unacceptable for the amount of vitamin D I consume.

They say it's"unlikely" to be Crohn's. Of course it is. That's basic statistics. It doesn't make it impossible - that isn't how life works.

I got the assessment of the appointment today, and says my first sample has been sent off for calprotectin levels, which I suspect will be low. The next one is for elastase? And an "MR Enterocolitis" has been arranged. Also, he went on to use "practise" instead of "practice" which is slightly vexing as I read it.

Fingers crossed this won't take too long.

Thank you for all your support. He challenged me to prove him wrong that it is just IBS. It's going to be a long battle but I intend to fight to the last breath to win this war.

my little penguin

Staff member
Flex sig only examines the very bottom of the intestine
So it looks at the rectum and sigmoid colon
It completely misses the ascending /transverse/descending colon
And does not get a look at all at the terminal ileum where the majority of Crohns is found
Only a full colonoscopy can look at theses areas
So sorry the but the flex sig looks st next to nothing in terms of the intestine


my little penguin

Staff member
As in nutritionally complete
Modulen in the U.K.
Or fortips I believe over there
Ds drank peptamen jr and later neocate jr(elemental formula )
Yeah I knew the sigmoidoscopy was insufficient.
I'm really after some kind of supplement to prevent weight loss, but the majority wouldn't be suitable for me, because I can't consume anything sugary. I'm seeing my dietician next week and I'm going to make one last plea for her to believe me and help to find a suitable supplement...
You are probably due for an MRE (magnetic resonance enterography) where they use dye to enhance the imaging. That might get a good look at your small intestine. And you definitely need a colonoscopy. You could also get a capsule endoscopy which is good for detecting crohn's in the small intestine. Inflammation can also be picked up on an upper GI with small bowel through (you drink barium and a radiologist does X-rays as it travels through your system.
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I'm glad I haven't simply been cast off because I've had some tests already, and reassured that I'll be having more comprehensive tests.

Because the symptoms flare up after eating, and a lot of the tests require fasting, I'm always worried it could give a false-negative. Anyone know if this could be the case?