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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Weaver, Kristen Ronn, MS, ACNP, ANP; Melkus, Gail D'Eramo, EdD, C-NP, FAAN; Henderson, Wendy A., PhD, MSN, CRNP

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: June 2017 - Volume 117 - Issue 6 - p 48–55
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000520253.57459.01
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, chronic gastrointestinal (GI) condition characterized by disturbances in bowel habits and abdominal pain in the absence of known organic pathology. IBS reduces quality of life and is costly to treat. It is diagnosed using the symptom-based Rome criteria for functional GI disorders, which was recently updated and released as Rome IV. Both physiologic and psychological variables play a role in the etiology of IBS and perpetuate symptoms. Although research has shed light on IBS pathophysiology, therapeutic interventions remain symptom driven, employing both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches. Here, the authors review the epidemiology and pathophysiology of IBS, summarize diagnostic and treatment strategies, and discuss implications for nursing practice.

The authors review the epidemiology and pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome, summarize diagnostic and treatment strategies, and discuss implications for nursing practice.

Kristen Ronn Weaver is a predoctoral fellow in the Digestive Disorders Unit, National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, and a doctoral student at the New York University (NYU) Rory Meyers College of Nursing, New York City. Gail D'Eramo Melkus is associate dean for research and the Florence and William Downs Professor in Nursing Research at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Wendy A. Henderson is an investigator and chief of the Digestive Disorders Unit, NINR, NIH. Contact author: Kristen Ronn Weaver, kristen.weaver@nih.gov. The authors have received funding from the Division of Intramural Research, NINR, NIH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (KRW, an Intramural Research Training Award, Graduate Partnership Program; WAH, No. 1ZIANR000018, 01-05). Additional support was provided to KRW by the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, and the Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association. The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

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