Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition characterized by abdominal pain associated with bowel dysfunction.
The patient will typically have recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort that is associated with a change in stool frequency or form. The pain or discomfort may be relieved by defecation.
It is important to determine whether there are any dietary associations such as lactose-containing foods or fructose-containing foods.
Exam of the abdomen is usually unremarkable. There may be mild and poorly localized tenderness in the RLQ and/or LLQ.
The diagnosis is based on the patient's history, and there are no specific diagnostic tests. If the patient has worrying symptoms or findings such as anemia, weight loss, or fever, then these require more thorough investigation.
Treatment should be individualized and is dependent on the patient's predominant symptoms.