Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):
Common functional disorder of bowel associated with diarrhoea and abdominal pain. ‘Functional’ as there is no identifiable structural or biochemical cause.
Most common gastrointestinal disorder.
Associated with functional dyspepsia, chronic fatigue syndrome, dysmenorrhoea.

Aetiology:
50% have a psychiatric disorder; may be related to altered visceral sensation

Clinical features:
Usually begins in late teens to early twenties. Changes in bowel habit; abdominal pain/cramp and distension; relief of pain with defecation; passage of rectal mucous in stools; feelings of an incomplete defaecation.
Most alternate between period of constipation and diarrhoea.

Treatment:
Often unsuccessful; reassurance

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