Don’t try to face this alone.

Male and female doctors in a line.

Looking for a doctor that knows how to treat IBS can be time consuming, but important. You need to find someone you’re comfortable with.
© Can Stock Photo

If you have IBS symptoms or a diagnosis of IBS, you need to find the right doctor.

An IBS doctor (not an official title but it should be in my opinion), is someone that you can talk to, someone who will listen, someone that will take the time to explain things.

He or she also needs to know or believe in IBS.  Not all doctors do.

Sorry, but finding an IBS Doctor is YOUR JOB!

It would be nice if every doctor knew a lot about IBS and you could just talk to them and get help. But IBS is pretty much a mystery. No one knows exactly what causes IBS Symptoms, and some doctors don’t even believe in it.

The reason I say it’s your job, is that you need help to deal with this, and your going to have to find that help yourself.

Sitting at home wishing you could talk to your doctor, but being too uncomfortable, or having a doctor that doesn’t listen, won’t keep you off the toilet.

Sorry, but it’s true.

What you need in an IBS doctor:

In my opinion, there are certain qualities that that set a good IBS doctor apart from other doctors is.

I think a good IBS doctor should:

  • have the ability to listen and have an open mind
  • have knowledge of IBS symptoms and triggers
  • know about other possible causes of IBS symptoms
  • ask questions (in case you’re too embarrassed to speak up about IBS symptoms)
  • believe he or she can help you

If your doctor doesn’t have these qualities, you may want to think about trying another one to treat your IBS.

Questions to ask a potential IBS doctor

There are some things you can ask a doctor you are considering for your IBS treatment. Here are a few questions I think are important:

Different kinds of IBS Doctors:

Doctor in a white lab coat holding a sign that says no self-diagnosis.

It’s tempting to just give up and do your own diagnosis, but finding an expert can make life a lot better.
© Can Stock Photo

There different kinds of doctors. Some specialize in western medicine and are called allopathic doctors. This is the kind of doctor most people are familiar with, and will have an “M.D.”

A second kind of western medicine doctor is the osteopathic doctor. I think sometimes this kind of doctor may have more of an open mind, since osteopathy is less “traditional.” An osteopathic doctor will have the letters “D.O.”

A gastroenterologist is a specialist in the digestive tract, and can sometimes be your best hope in getting help for IBS symptoms. But like any other doctor, you have to find the right one.

Another kind of doctor is a naturopathic doctor. A naturopath uses diet, vitamins, plants and other kinds of “natural” remedies. They have the the letters “N.D.” and are often harder to find.  In my opinion an N.D. can be the best kind of IBS doctor. They usually take more time, and have a more holistic approach. Insurance often doesn’t cover this kind of doctor.

A doctor of traditional Chinese Medicine may practice acupuncture and practices TCM.  I’ve had good luck with acupuncture, but it’s not for everyone.

In my opinion the best place to start is your regular doctor.  If he or she can’t help, then get a refferral to a gastroenterologist.  If you can afford it, or if your insurance covers it, a naturopathic doctor can make a great IBS doctor as well.

You have to TALK to your IBS doctor!

So, let’s say you’ve found the perfect doctor to treat your IBS. He or she is knowledgeable, caring, a good listener, etc.

Now it’s up to you to let them know what’s going on with you.

Okay, I know this can be embarrasing. Most people are very uncomfortable talking about diarrhea, constipation, problems with gas (flatulence) and other toilet talk.

Heck, I’m uncomfortable sometimes, and I write a website about it.

But even the best IBS doctor can’t help you if you don’t talk about what’s happening to you. YOU are a very important part of the process of feeling better.

Don’t be discouraged if your doctor isn’t a good IBS doctor.

Your first attempts to talk about this with your doctor can fail.  Maybe your doctor doesn’t listen well, or maybe he or she will make you feel like IBS isn’t real. Maybe you feel like you’re not being taken seriously. Maybe you don’t like talking to a male doctor if you’re female, or vice versa. If your current doctor isn’t a good fit for you, you’ll have to move on to another doctor.

But there is help out there. Don’t give up!

Return to help for IBS or go to What is IBS.