Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Abstract

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.

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