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Do I have Endometriosis or is it Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

This is a very confusing area and a few of my female clients come to me with symptoms that just don’t fit IBS. It certainly feels like IBS to them but there are some subtle differences. Symptoms that overlap between endometriosis and IBS may include:

  • abdominal cramping

  • bloating

  • diarrhoea

  • nausea

  • and sometimes pain with bowel movements

We don’t know the causes of IBS or endometriosis and diagnosing it can be difficult. The way I do this is to send my client to their GP to get tested for things like Coeliac's disease, IBD (Chron’s Disease and Ulcerative colitis), food intolerances, infections and if necessary a laparoscopy but that is up to the GP. Often if the GP does think they have endometriosis they may look at their contraception and change that to an IUD or similar to reduce the symptoms related to heavy menstrual cycles and pain which can often be confused with the pain of IBS. The difference with symptoms that are tell-tale signs of endometriosis rather than IBS may include:

  • pain during sex

  • heavy menstrual cycle

  • pain before a period that lessens after the period

  • pain when the pelvis is examined

  • and pain during urination

Most of the clients that I suspect have endometriosis and not IBS have perfectly normal No. 2s. If you are unsure then get checked as these two conditions often get confused.

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