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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2008 September;54(3):251-7

language: English, Italian

2008 Clinical approach to irritable bowel syndrome

Astegiano M., Pellicano R., Sguazzini C., Berrutti M., Simondi D., Reggiani S., Rizzetto M.

Unit of Gastro-epatology San Giovanni Battista Hospital, Turin, Italy


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as defined by Rome III diagnostic criteria, affects 10-20% of the general population, with women 20-40 years old accounting for the majority of patients. Although variable and intermittent, IBS symptoms may persist for many years. Repeated referrals for medical consultation and diagnostic studies generate huge healthcare costs. Since there is no evidence that IBS leads to more severe gastrointestinal disorders, in absence of alarm symptoms or signs, an invasive diagnostic algorithm is not indicated. Optimal treatment for IBS still needs to be defined. The clinical approach is based on treatment of the prevalent symptom. When pain predominates, antispasmodics are the first choice. In case of diarrhea, loperamide is useful for reducing bowel frequency. Soluble fiber represents the first option in subjects with IBS and constipation or mixed IBS. Dietary integrators composed of probiotics and serotonin precursors are a promising therapeutic option.

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