Consitions confused with IBS

If you're reading this, chances are you or someone you love has been experiencing symptoms that may indicate Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Firstly, let me say that I'm sorry you're going through this. Digestive issues can be incredibly frustrating and debilitating, and it's important to get to the bottom of what's going on. Here are a few conditions that are commonly confused with IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects approximately 10-15% of adults worldwide. However, some conditions may mimic the symptoms of IBS, leading to misdiagnosis, lack of appropriate treatment or even aggravation of the actual disease. Here are some conditions that may seem like IBS but are not:

Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the colon and the rectum. However, UC can also cause weight loss, fatigue and blood or pus in the stool, which is not typical for IBS. More about IBS vs UC is here.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

This includes Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which are chronic inflammatory conditions that affect the digestive tract. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding, which can be mistaken for IBS. The symptoms of IBD are similar to those of IBS, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating. However, IBD can also cause rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss. A colonoscopy and biopsy can help you diagnose IBD.

Celiac Disease

This autoimmune disorder causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is consumed. Guten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. The symptoms of celiac disease are similar to those of IBS, including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. However, celiac disease can also cause weight loss, anemia, and other complications. A blood test and biopsy of the small intestine can help you diagnose celiac disease.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition in which there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. The symptoms of SIBO are similar to those of IBS, including bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. However, SIBO can also cause malabsorption of nutrients and weight loss. A breath test can diagnose SIBO.


Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Endometriosis can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea, which are similar to the symptoms of IBS. However, endometriosis can also cause heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods, and infertility. A laparoscopy can diagnose endometriosis. Read how to tell IBS from endometriosis

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that affects the colon or rectum. Its symptoms are similar to those of IBS, including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. However, colon cancer can also cause rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, and weight loss. A colonoscopy can diagnose colon cancer.

Anxiety and Depression

Mental health issues can often manifest as physical symptoms, including digestive issues like abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. However, this it still a debatable statment whether anxiety and depression are mistaken for IBS or acutally cause it.

It's important to note that these conditions can coexist with IBS, making diagnosis and treatment even more complex. That's why it's important to see a healthcare provider who can help you navigate your symptoms and come up with a plan that works for you. Remember, you're not alone in this and there are people who can help and who have sucessfully cured or managed these conditions and diseases.

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