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Experts Issue Guidelines for Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Date:8/8/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Newly released guidelines for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and a type of constipation known as chronic idiopathic constipation reveal a number of proven treatments for these two common conditions.

"There's a greater variety of approaches which reflect a greater understanding of the disorders," said guidelines co-author Dr. Eamonn Quigley, chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Houston Methodist Hospital.

"We now have a better opportunity to improve the lives of our patients," Quigley said.

The guidelines are published in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

An estimated 5 percent to 15 percent of the world's population has irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, cramping and bloating, and gas. It can affect people at any age but is especially common when people are in their 20s and 30s, Quigley said.

The condition can be difficult to diagnose because other conditions share the same symptoms. Unlike other conditions, however, there's no specific diagnostic test for irritable bowel syndrome, he noted. Physicians must rely purely on symptoms to make the diagnosis.

The new guidelines, released this week by the American College of Gastroenterology, say there's evidence to support the following treatments for irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Fiber (psyllium especially when compared to bran)
  • Probiotics
  • An antibiotic called rifaximin (Rifagut)
  • Medications known as linaclotide (Linzess) and lubiprostone (Amitiza)

The irritable bowel syndrome guidelines also say that research has boosted the case for using
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