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IBS is a common functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. The condition is more common in females.

The diagnosis rests largely on presenting symptoms, rather than special investigations including endoscopy. 

The current diagnostic criteria are contained in the Rome 3 document:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Diagnostic criteria:

Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort** at least 3 days per month in the last 3 months associated with two or more of the following:

  • Improvement with defecation
  • Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool
  • Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool

Criterion fulfilled for the last 3 months with symptom onset
at least 6 months prior to diagnosis
** “Discomfort” means an uncomfortable sensation not described as pain.

Patients aged 50 years or older suspected of having IBS should undergo colorectal cancer screening.

The management of IBS patients requires a solid doctor-patient relationship.

A detailed history is important, seeking clues that may uncover triggers for the patient’s symptoms.

Triggers may include certain foods, anxiety and depression, and stressful life events.

Patients need to understand their condition and be reassured that it does not lead to more serious illnesses such as cancer.


The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.


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© Dr. H Schneider, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Johannesburg

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.