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Abdullah Ali Altulihi, Hazim Saad Almutairi, Huthayfah Ali Alamer, Abdullah Ahmad Alhatlani, Mohammad Saleh Suliman Alamer


Abstract: Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a complex functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that constitutes a major portion of the total outpatient visits to gastroenterologists and other healthcare professionals. The cardinal symptom of irritable bowel syndrome is chronic abdominal pain with altered bowel habits in the absence of a discernable organic disease. This chronic disorder is highly prevalent and seen in as many as 10-20% of the entire population. Several treatment options are available for IBS which have progressed and evolved rapidly with the introduction of several new guidelines. Objectives: In this review we aim to shed light on the available treatment options for irritable bowel syndrome including patient education, lifestyle modifications, dietary changes and the currently employed pharmacologic agents. Materials and Methods: A review of relevant articles published from 1984 till date in English language was done using the electronic databases of PubMed Pico and, Google Scholar with preset keywords. Keywords: Irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, pharmacotherapy, and physical therapy. Conclusion: A multidisciplinary approach is recommended for the treatment of IBS. This includes collaboration of a team consisting of primary-care physician, a psychiatrist, a dietician, and a nurse practitioner. Following diagnosis of Irritable bowel syndrome, it is essential to establish a strong physician-patient relationship and enforce continuity of care given the chronicity of symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to the various pharmacologic agents available, it is mandatory to express empathy, encourage patient participation and promote lifestyle changes. Physical activity and dietary modifications can be greatly beneficial and should be tailored to the need of the individual patient. Pharmacology should focus on the predominant symptom and address them specifically such as constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain.


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