Providing Proof of Your IBS Diagnosis
Building your case starts with a proper diagnosis of your condition. However, IBS can mimic other digestive disorder symptoms. Because of this, it can be important to get a proper diagnosis. Irritable Bowel Syndrome diagnoses can often be delayed because the individual is embarrassed to discuss it with their physician. While there is no specific test to diagnose IBS, your doctor will likely ask a series of questions to help rule out other possible conditions. Generally, these questions will look into your bowel movement history, family history of bowel issues, abdominal discomfort, eating habits, and more. Additionally, your doctor may ask about the medications you are taking, as some may have side effects that lead to IBS.
Ruling out Other Conditions
Another way your doctor can come to a proper conclusion about your IBS is to rule out other conditions. While IBS doesn’t have a clear testing process, many other bowel conditions do. Blood tests, for example, can rule out lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or bacterial issues. Stool tests may help rule out bowel infections or nutritional absorption issues. A colonoscopy can rule out cancers or inflammatory bowel disease. A CT scan or X-ray can rule out blockages or cancerous growths. Lastly, a flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that looks for polyps and ulcers. By ruling out some or all of these other conditions, your doctor can make a more informed diagnosis of your condition.
A Doctor’s Note is Important To Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome Claim
A doctor’s support of your IBS diagnosis is key to building your case. Your doctor can provide a letter detailing the symptoms of your IBS, along with a description of how your symptoms impact your ability to work. They can also mention the frequency and severity of your condition. The doctor should also mention any tests that were performed to help narrow the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.
Receiving Appropriate Treatment for Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome
When filing a long-term disability claim, the insurance company will want proof that you are receiving appropriate care for your symptoms. Otherwise, the insurance company may deny your claim on grounds of non-compliance or lack of appropriate care. Because there is no real cure for IBS, your “appropriate treatment” involves the management and reduction of your symptoms. Additionally, the insurance company will likely require proof of ongoing treatment in order for your claim to continue being valid after approval. Usual treatment methods for IBS involve diet management, anxiety & stress reduction, and medications.
Dieting to reduce IBS symptoms generally means avoiding certain foods that may worsen your IBS. This includes alcohol, dairy products, and chocolate. Your doctor or nutritionist can help you develop a dietary plan that helps reduce triggering symptoms. Dietary changes may also include an increase in fiber. Dieting is not a complete solution to your IBS, but it may help reduce emergency situations and limit the number of episodes you have per day.
Stress or anxiety reduction treatments could potentially help you develop strategies for coping with stressful situations. This may include avoiding stressful environments or seeking mental health counseling.
Some medications may be helpful in reducing or managing your Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Some medications that could help include antispasmodics (reduce cramping), laxatives (for constipation management), and tricyclic antidepressants (can help with mental symptoms as well as abdominal pain). Your doctor can help you determine which medications might be right for you.