Irritable bowel syndrome - a dustbin of a diagnosis

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Irritable bowel syndrome is not a diagnosis. It is a symptom which may have many causes, all of which need investigating.

Doctors can be intellectually idle and treat IBS as if it were a diagnosis. This happens when all the causes they do know of have been excluded such as cancer, ulcers, gall bladder disease, pancreatitis, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or other such diagnoses. Classically, there are recurrent episodes of abdominal discomfort or pain, which is usually central or colicky with alternating diarrhoea and constipation. Often people complain of wind and bloating, sometimes nausea. However, the symptoms can be very varied.

Some doctors believe that IBS is a symptom of anxiety. So all they have to do is lots of investigations, reassure the patient there is no cancer and bingo! The problem is solved!

To solve the problem of irritable bowel syndrome see Bowel disease - the environmental approach - much more logical than the conventional approach

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