: Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common disorder of the bowels that causes significant patient morbidity, work-absenteeism, physician visits, and, frequently, extensive evaluations. The syndrome has been classified as a "functional" disorder because of the lack of clearly elucidated pathophysiology, although altered visceral sensitivity, intestinal motility, and psychosocial factors all likely play a role. Treatment includes fostering a strong, trusting relationship with the patient, with pharmacotherapy directed at the predominant symptoms. The authors review the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of this difficult disorder.
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