Definition, epidemiology, diagnosis, natural history

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Annals of Gastroenterology
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2007 (EN)
Definition, epidemiology, diagnosis, natural history (EN)

., Maria Tzouvala

SUMMARY Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is considered part of a broader spectrum of symptoms, known collectivelly as functional abdominal disorders. It is characterized by abdominal pain associated with defecation or a change in bowel habit, with features of disordered defecation and distention. IBS is a remarkably common condition affecting up to 20% of the general population with a female predominance, depending on the diagnostic criteria used and the weight given to various symptoms. The incidence of the disease has been estimated at almost 1% per year. Although only a minority of people with IBS seek medical advice, IBS is the most common disorder seen in gastroenterology practice. To date no structural or pathophysiological abnormality has been discovered to explain IBS symptoms. Therefore, consensus-based diagnostic criteria are at present used for a positive diagnosis of IBS on clinical grounds. The initial approach also includes physical examination and a conservative set of screening studies but upon specific indications, further investigation may be required. Once the diagnosis is established, the incidence of serious organic diseases is extremely low. Nevertheless, IBS is considered a chronic, although benign, disorder, with variable course in the general population, and significant impact on quality of life. Key words: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), prevalence, incidence, diagnostic criteria, prognosis. (EN)




Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology (EN)

Annals of Gastroenterology; Volume 15, No 3 (2002) (EN)

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