A review article on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in Women?s Health in Primary Care (May 2003) clarifies issues related to the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of IBS for primary care physicians. The article stresses the importance of avoiding the misconception shared by patients and clinicians alike that IBS is ?all in the patient?s head.?
The American College of Gastroenterology Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Task Force has developed a consensus document, An Evidence-Based Position and Systematic Review on the Management of IBS in North America. This document, which was published recently as a supplement to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, is designed to help physicians confidently and positively diagnose IBS. It should assist physicians in diagnosing IBS according to physical examination findings and patient history in the absence of red flags (eg, unintended weight loss >10 lb), using a symptom-based, stepwise approach. According to the review article, successful management of IBS relies on a long-term, therapeutic clinician?patient relationship, which includes patient education, reassurance, and up-to-date information on new IBS therapies.