Journal Mobile

B Bray, M Ford
Journal Issue: 
Volume 39: Issue 1: 2009




Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition in primary care and accounts   for   more   than   30%   of   hospital   gastroenterological   outpatient consultations. It is characterised by abdominal pain and accompanied by altered bowel  habit  and  often  extra-intestinal  symptoms  such  as  tiredness  and  urinary frequency. A  positive  diagnosis  can  be  made  with  confidence  given  the  typical history  and  the  absence  of  ‘alarm  features’,  supported  by  a  small  number  of appropriate investigations. Managing patients with irritable bowel syndrome can be  challenging  but  should  be  based  on  an  empathic  appreciation  of  the psychosocial  context  of  their  symptoms.  Pharmacological  treatment  should  be symptom-based  and  may  include  dietary  manipulation,  antidiarrhoeals,  laxatives, tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.