A common struggle of patients who have functional gastrointestinal disorders is trying to get a diagnosis from a medical professional. In many cases, those with this type of disorder are sent home with OTC medication because all lab results indicate negative for any virus, bacteria, obstruction, or even just a chemical imbalance to explain their symptoms.
Due to the lack of direct testing to identify and diagnose the disorder, millions of Americans go undiagnosed and live with the pain and symptoms of their disorder for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, researchers and clinicians have started to take FGIDs seriously and are more open to diagnosing patients with their specific type of function GI disorder to provide them with proper treatment.
Key To Proper Disorder Diagnosis
There are over 26 different functional GI disorders and all cannot be identified using traditional laboratory tests. This means the job of getting a proper diagnosis sooner falls on the hands of the patients. First and foremost, see a physician who is already familiar with the different types of FGIDs. This way you are less likely to be ignored and more likely to receive the best treatment possible.
Next is to take note of all of your symptoms, the more details you can provide, the better. Make sure to remember when the symptoms started, how long it lasted, the frequency, the severity of pain or discomfort, and any abnormal symptoms that might affect your diagnosis. A more thorough description will help your doctor narrow down on the specific disorder sooner.
Once you are done describing all of your symptoms to your doctor, give them time to find a diagnosis. Do not expect the diagnosis to be immediate as functional GI disorders are still very new to the medical community. There is still a need for more studies to aid doctors in diagnosis and treating patients, but you should also ask your physician some questions.
Questions like: what is the name of my disorder? Is there are a cure? What are the best treatment options for my case? Are there any side effects to the treatment? How long until the treatment starts to take effect? Asking these questions and many more will help you understand how you can live a proper and fulfilling life despite having a functional GI disorder.
Sadly, as of today, there is no cure available for any type of functional GI disorder. The recommended treatment will vary depending on the type, severity, and symptoms of disorder you have, but all are focused on the management of the disorder. Some disorders like IBS can be treated with medication such as laxatives, but not all.
Life with a functional gastrointestinal disorder can be very difficult at first, but as you proceed with your treatment you will learn how to live with the disorder. The main goal of diagnosis and treatment is to improve a patient’s quality of life so there is something to look forward to, even if there is no cure for the disorder just yet.
Additional studies are needed to establish to better understand FGIDs. This way, the impact of FGIDs on patients’ lives can also be lessened.