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Prim Care. 2001 Sep;28(3):523-38, vi.

Irritable bowel syndrome.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain and a change in bowel habits. It is estimated to occur in 9% to 22% of the US population, and is more often diagnosed in women than in men. There are no diagnostic markers for irritable bowel syndrome and no evidence of organic disease. Moreover, the pathophysiology is not completely understood; however, abnormal gastrointestinal motility, altered sensory activity, central neural dysfunction, psychological disturbances, and luminal factors have been proposed. Treatment requires a multifaceted approach. Education, dietary measures, fiber supplementation, and pharmacological and psychological interventions have been used in the management of this disorder.

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