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Google-RE: differential diagnosis of IBS - CMAJ

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Health Reporter

RE: differential diagnosis of IBS  CMAJ

KEY POINTS

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain that is associated with a change in frequency or form of bowel habit.

  • The underlying pathophysiology of IBS is incompletely understood.

  • The differential diagnosis of IBS is broad and, in conjunction with targeted investigations, the diagnosis is symptom-based.

  • The syndrome can be usefully subdivided according to its predominant bowel habit.

  • Treatments are multifaceted; they include education and reassurance, dietary modifications and pharmaceutical interventions, largely directed toward improving the most bothersome symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of gut–brain interaction (previously referred to as a functional gastrointestinal disorder), characterized by abdominal pain associated with a change in frequency or form of bowel habit. Irritable bowel syndrome accounts for more than 40% of new referrals to gastroenterology outpatient clinics, although the disease is mostly managed by primary care practitioners.13 We summarize the epidemiology, pathophysiology, differential diagnosis and management of IBS, drawing on best available evidence (Box 1) to guide family physicians and nonspecialists in management of this condition.

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