Management of patients with irritable bowel syndrome

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.