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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterised by abdominal pain or discomfort, associated with a change in either frequency, or form of stool. The condition is chronic, with a relapsing and remitting natural history,1 and affects up to one in five people in the general population. IBS represents a significant economic burden to the health service, and there is no known structural cause to explain the symptoms that sufferers report. Therapy is therefore directed towards relief, or improvement, of symptoms. However, there remains controversy about which treatments are effective.
Ruepert et al searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL …
Competing interests None.