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Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: Diagnosis and Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Primary Care [Internet]

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: Diagnosis and Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Primary Care [Internet]

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care (UK)

Version: February 2008

Diagnosis

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic, relapsing and often life-long disorder. It is characterised by the presence of abdominal pain associated with defaecation, or a change in bowel habit together with disordered defaecation (constipation or diarrhoea or both), and the sensation of abdominal distension. Symptoms sometimes overlap with other gastrointestinal disorders such as non-ulcer dyspepsia, or with coeliac disease. Diagnosis of IBS has proven difficult historically for many reasons, not least that traditionally an exclusion diagnostic approach has been selected by clinicians. Each year, typically approximately 10% of the population will experience IBS symptoms, with up to half of these presenting to primary care clinicians. In reviewing the literature, it is clear that in the absence of gold standard diagnostic criteria, several criterion referenced diagnostic tools have emerged over the last two decades. These have been used in both prevalence and incidence studies, and have proven to be useful for clinicians in enabling them to provide a diagnosis for those patients presenting with IBS symptoms. These criteria have also allowed for standardisation of IBS diagnosis in research.

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