Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, manifesting as abdominal pain/discomfort and altered bowel function. Despite affecting as many as 20% of adults, a lack of understanding of etiopathogenesis and evaluation strategies results in diagnostic uncertainty, and in turn frustration of both the physician and the patient. This review summarizes the current literature on the diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome, with attention to evidence-based approaches. A 4-step treatment strategy that has been used successfully in our tertiary referral practice is presented and should lead to successful therapeutic outcomes in the majority of patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Irritable bowel