Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, meanly characterized by recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort and altered bowel habit. It is a complex disorder involving biological, environmental, and psychosocial factors. The diagnosis is achieved according to the Rome III criteria provided that organic causes have been excluded. Although IBS does not constitute a life-threatening condition, it has a remarkable prevalence and profoundly reduces the quality of life with burdening socioeconomic costs. One of the principal concerns about IBS is the lack of effective therapeutic options. Up to 40% of patients are not satisfied with any available medications, especially those suffering from chronic constipation. A correct management of IBS with constipation should evolve through a global approach focused on the patient, starting with careful history taking in order to assess the presence of organic diseases that might trigger the disorder. Therefore, the second step is to examine lifestyle, dietary habits, and psychological status. On these bases, a step-up management of disease is recommended: from fiber and bulking agents, to osmotic laxative drugs, to new molecules like lubiprostone and linaclotide. Although new promising tools for relief of bowel-movement-related symptoms are being discovered, a dedicated doctor–patient relationship still seems to be the key for success.
- Functional gastrointestinal disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
- Safety Research
- Chemical Health and Safety