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Panminerva Medica 2018 December;60(4):213-22

DOI: 10.23736/S0031-0808.18.03541-3

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Irritable bowel syndrome: the clinical approach

Alessandro ADRIANI 1, Davide G. RIBALDONE 2, Marco ASTEGIANO 1, Marilena DURAZZO 3, Giorgio M. SARACCO 1, 2, Rinaldo PELLICANO 1

1 Unit of Gastroenterology, Molinette Hospital, Turin, Italy; 2 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 3 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy



Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic and debilitating functional gastrointestinal disorder which presents with abdominal pain associated with alteration of bowel habits. IBS is a common condition affecting 9-23% of the general population, being the 80% female, with considerable impact on quality of life and health care costs. The exact pathogenesis of IBS remains elusive, but is clearly multifactorial and includes environmental and host factors. Management of patients with IBS is challenging since diagnosis and treatment could require several approaches with unsatisfactory results. In any case, the diagnosis of IBS is based on the positive identification of symptoms consistent with this condition and by excluding an underling organic disease. Before choosing therapeutic options, a strong reassuring physician-patient relationship is crucial. The therapeutic approach of IBS may consist of both non-pharmacological therapies and pharmacotherapy and should be based on prevalent symptomatology. Lifestyle modifications such as stress reduction and increased physical activity seem to be useful to improve symptoms and should be encouraged. The same for dietary modifications that represent an important first-line therapeutic option. The pharmacological treatment should take into account the predominant symptom and test one drug at a time with a predefined time point for effectiveness evaluation and dosage adjustment. This clinical review offers an updated overview on epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of IBS.


KEY WORDS: Irritable bowel syndrome - Constipation - Diarrhea - Abdominal pain

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