Diagnosis of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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The diagnosis of the irritable bowel syndrome can be a formidable task. Because this condition has no pathologic or biochemical markers, the physician may feel compelled to order unnecessary roentgenographic and laboratory studies to establish the diagnosis, when, in fact, such studies serve mainly to exclude other diseases. Thus, investigative efforts reported in the literature have at times been directed toward achieving greater diagnostic accuracy through characterizing and quantifying patient reports.

In a useful study by Manning and associates (1), certain symptoms derived from a 15-item questionnaire were shown to differentiate patients with the irritable bowel syndrome from others. Of

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