Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What’s New in 2011?

I would agree if you were to say irritable bowel (IBS) is not the sexiest topic in medicine. Indeed it would not surprise me if IBS had made the bottom ten at an academy awards night for medicine. Yet IBS constitutes at least 30% of all gastrointestinal consultations. This year’s Digestive Diseases Week at Chicago has high lighted new developments in IBS which I would like to share with you.

The low down on Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Introduction: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common referral to a gastroenterologist.The prevalence is between 14% to 24% in women and 5% to 19% in men in the US and Britain. It cost US $1.6 billion in 1998 mostly in medication and diagnostic tests.

While volumes have been written, which make stimulating reading, on the pathogenesis of IBS namely brain gut neural dysfunction, visceral hypersensitivity, sympathetic and parasympathetic imbalance, role of gut infection etc., purpose of this review is to focus on practical management of IBS.

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An Approach to the Management of Constipation

Prevalence of constipation is reported to be 20%. In the U.S.A, $800 million are spent yearly on laxatives. Constipation in the U.S.A account for 20,000 hospitaliza- tions and 2.5 million out-patient consultations per year.

Definitions: Stool frequency 2 or less per week, straining, hard stools and a feel- ing of incomplete evacuation are all features used by the Rome consensus criteria to define constipation.

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