Postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome

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Opinion statement

  • Postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) should be considered in patients who present with a change in bowel habits or an onset of new abdominal pain or discomfort following a recent confirmed or presumed exposure to infectious organisms, or in those who have recently returned from a tropical or developing country.

  • In patients who are greatly distressed by their symptoms, an extended workup early in the course of their illness may give physician and patient confidence in focusing on IBS.

  • The author favors a proactive, multicomponent approach to management, as it gives the physician and patient a sense of control.

  • Treatment should include stress management, dietary advice to minimize exposure to trigger foods, and pharmacotherapy to alleviate anxiety and target disturbed physiology.