Hépato-Gastro & Oncologie Digestive


Symptoms evolution in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: what should be said to patients? Volume 20, supplement 4, Décembre 2013


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CHU - Hôtel Dieu de Nantes, Institut des maladies de l’appareil digestif, 1, place Alexis-Ricordeau, 44093 Nantes cedex 1, France

The requirements of patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for information regarding their disease are substantial and often seem to be unmet. Whilst it is important that the diagnosis is clearly established without using an elimination strategy, follow-up in the medium and long term may then provide information regarding the evolution of symptoms over time. This can be summarized in seven points: 1) IBS is a disease which often alternates between periods of greater activity, with variable duration, and periods of lower clinical expression; 2) periods with marked clinical expression are punctuated by short, symptomatic crises of < 1 week; 3) IBS symptoms disappear in more than one-third of patients within a year; 4) new symptoms emerge in almost one-quarter of patients within a year; 5) in the long term, symptoms will tend to disappear in one-third of patients; 6) in half of the patients, symptoms tend to become less severe over time; 7) an observation of clinical improvement after a few months appears to increase the chance of symptomatic improvement at one year.