IBS is a chronic, relapsing functional bowel disorder. For many this condition can be life-long.
For a clear diagnosis, the Rome III criteria are used: symptoms must be present for at least 6 months and must be associated with abdominal pain or discomfort, which is often accompanied by stool passage and/or a change in bowel habit. Patients can suffer with constipation and/or diarrhoea and many will report abdominal bloating/distension. Patients with these symptoms may also suffer with bowel urgency, straining or a sense of incomplete evacuation, and the passage of mucus in stools. Symptoms are often made worse by eating. Some patients will also report lethargy, nausea, backache and bladder symptoms [1-3].
Patients will generally present with either :
- IBS-D: IBS diarrhoea dominant
- IBS-C: IBS constipation dominant
- IBS-M: IBS mixed with constipation > 25%
- IBS-A: IBS alternating, for those who vary over time
- Longstreth GF, Thompson WG, Chey WD, Houghton LA, Mearin F, Spiller RC. Functional bowel disorders. Gastroenterology. 2006;130(5):1480-91.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Irritable bowel syndrome in adults: diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care. London: NICE; 2015.
- National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Irritable bowel syndrome in adults: Diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care. London 2008.