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Optimal management of constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome

Authors Furnari M, de Bortoli N, Martinucci I, Bodini G, Revelli M, Elisa M, Moscatelli A, Del Nero L, Savarino E, Giannini EG, Savarino V

Received 18 December 2014

Accepted for publication 4 March 2015

Published 30 April 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 691—703


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Manuele Furnari,1 Nicola de Bortoli,2 Irene Martinucci,2 Giorgia Bodini,1 Matteo Revelli,3 Elisa Marabotto,1 Alessandro Moscatelli,1 Lorenzo Del Nero,1 Edoardo Savarino,4 Edoardo G Giannini,1 Vincenzo Savarino1

1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 2Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Translational Research and New Technology in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy; 3Department of Radiology, San Bartolomeo Hospital, Sarzana, Italy; 4Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Surgery, Oncology, and Gastroenterology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy

Abstract: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, meanly characterized by recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort and altered bowel habit. It is a complex disorder involving biological, environmental, and psychosocial factors. The diagnosis is achieved according to the Rome III criteria provided that organic causes have been excluded. Although IBS does not constitute a life-threatening condition, it has a remarkable prevalence and profoundly reduces the quality of life with burdening socioeconomic costs. One of the principal concerns about IBS is the lack of effective therapeutic options. Up to 40% of patients are not satisfied with any available medications, especially those suffering from chronic constipation. A correct management of IBS with constipation should evolve through a global approach focused on the patient, starting with careful history taking in order to assess the presence of organic diseases that might trigger the disorder. Therefore, the second step is to examine lifestyle, dietary habits, and psychological status. On these bases, a step-up management of disease is recommended: from fiber and bulking agents, to osmotic laxative drugs, to new molecules like lubiprostone and linaclotide. Although new promising tools for relief of bowel-movement-related symptoms are being discovered, a dedicated doctor–patient relationship still seems to be the key for success.

Keywords: IBS, functional gastrointestinal disorders, laxatives

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