Can Colonoscopy Detect Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Unveiling The Truth


Irritable bowel syndrome also known as gastrointestinal tract disorder is a disorder that targets your stomach and intestines.

When you have irritable bowel syndrome your entire digestive system gets affected and you are prone to frequent abdominal cramps.

Symptoms of Intestinal bowel syndrome vary from person to person. While some experience constipation, some might experience diarrhea and some might have a mixed bowel habit. 

Is It Possible To Detect IBS By Colonoscopy?

The question of whether a colonoscopy can detect irritable bowel syndrome is pondered by many. Colonoscopy is a process wherein your medical expert examines the large intestine or colon located in your digestive system.

Colonoscopy And Detection Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

This is often performed to locate symptoms of colorectal cancer. But a colonoscopy cannot detect symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

For a colonoscopy to detect an issue there must be changes in the intestinal tissue and since an irritable bowel syndrome does not cause any changes to the intestinal tissue, a colonoscopy cannot detect its symptoms. 

When you have irritable bowel syndrome, you will not experience any damage to the tissues in your digestive system but rather the movement in your digestive tract gets affected. Both visually and via a biopsy, an irritable bowel syndrome cannot be detected via a colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy And Pain Perception Of IBS

Although colonoscopy cannot detect an IBS, in certain cases it is used to identify the degree of pain perception. When one has IBS, visceral hypersensitivity becomes an important component of their diagnosis.

To examine this in detail, the National Library of Medicine conducted a survey in 2010 wherein it examined the pain perception of people who had undergone colonoscopy. The sample consisted of 217 people who had Irritable bowel stands and did not have any symptoms of IBS.

The results of the sample concluded that the pain perception of people who underwent colonoscopy is higher in people who had IBS as compared to those without any symptoms of IBS.

And this created a new outlook as to whether a colonoscopy is effective for IBS scenarios. Although it cannot detect IBS directly, one can understand the symptoms of IBS via pain perception when a colonoscopy is performed.

In general, a colonoscopy is used to detect colorectal cancer and is often used in the preventive screening stage.

Colonoscopy is effective in detecting colorectal cancer even in people who do not have any symptoms of the same. A colonoscopy is often performed to ensure your body is ready for surgeries in specific cases like an organ transplant. 

How A Colonoscopy Is Performed?

A colonoscopy is performed by attaching a camera to the long tube such that your Colon’s lining can be visually examined by your medical expert to identify unwanted growth and inflammation.

Your entire colon, also known as your large intestine will be visible to your medical expert during this process.

Your medical expert will make a diagnosis both by visually examining as well as ordering a biopsy through the colonoscopy examination and this is one of the many reasons people wonder if a colonoscopy can detect irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive disorder that targets your large intestine and does not cause any changes to your bowel tissue hence it is impossible for colonoscopy to detect an irritable bowel syndrome either via visual examination or through a biopsy. 


There is no specific test that can detect the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome but keeping an eye out for the common symptoms like frequent and constant abdominal cramping, changes in bowel habits, and swelling of your stomach would be a start to consult your medical expert. 

Since there is no hard and fast test to diagnose an IBS, your medical expert examines your medical history and conducts a physical examination to rule out the possibility of other gastrointestinal conditions like an inflammatory bowel disease.

Although 15%  to 20%  of Americans have IBS, the symptoms often vary from one person to another making identification of an irritable bowel syndrome more difficult. 

However, due to the advancements in the medical field, several tests including stool tests, blood tests, CT scans, and so on are ordered by your medical expert to help identify an IBS and diagnose it at an earlier stage.

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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