Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NICE backs protein test to tell IBD from IBS

  • Comment

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended a simple stool tests as an option to distinguish between potentially serious inflammatory bowel disease and less serious irritable bowel syndrome.

NICE said faecal calprotectin tests should be used in patients with recent lower gastrointestinal symptoms that could be due to either type of disorder.

The recommended tests measure the levels of the protein calprotectin which is found in inflammatory cells. The protein is traceable in stool samples for several days.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said: “Faecal calprotectin testing helps distinguish between non-inflammatory disorders like irritable bowel syndrome where sufferers will not come to serious harm and inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease – which need to be quickly referred to specialists.

“Currently a number of tests are carried out in both hospitals and GPs’ surgeries to rule out conditions rather than to diagnose,” she said. “Looking at the available evidence, we found that faecal calprotectin testing is a good way to distinguish between inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.”

She added: “The test is also likely to reduce the demands on colonoscopy departments, which will be able to focus on people being investigated for more serious conditions such as bowel cancer.”

Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.