Natural history of irritable bowel syndrome and durability of the diagnosis

G. Richard Locke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Each year, approximately 10% of the general population experience symptoms consistent with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); only about half of these persons will seek care for their symptoms. This review discusses the natural history of IBS from 2 perspectives: a population-based perspective and a clinical perspective. Persons with IBS symptoms often have multiple symptoms that change over time. In addition, patients who receive a diagnosis of IBS rarely develop an organic disease to explain their symptoms. The diagnosis of IBS, when made properly, is a reliable diagnosis. Unfortunately, therapeutic options are limited; thus, the natural history of IBS is one in which symptoms appear, disappear, and change over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S12-S17
JournalReviews in gastroenterological disorders
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Sep 25 2003


  • Health care utilization
  • Incidence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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