Items in AFP with MESH term: Colonic Diseases, Functional
Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract and is frequently treated by family physicians. Despite patients' worries about the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, it is a benign condition. The diagnosis should be made using standard criteria after red flags that may signify organic disease have been ruled out. An effective physician-patient relationship is vital to successful management. Episodes of diarrhea are best managed with loperamide, while constipation often will respond to fiber supplements. Antispasmodics or anticholinergic agents may help relieve the abdominal pain of irritable bowel syndrome. Refractory cases are often treated with tricyclic antidepressants. Newer agents such as tegaserod and ondansetron target neurotransmitter receptors in the gastrointestinal tract Some forms of psychologic treatment may be helpful, and gastroenterology consultation is occasionally needed to reassure the patient. Comorbid conditions such as depression or anxiety should be investigated and treated.
ABSTRACT: Diagnosing a patient who presents with abdominal pain and altered bowel habits can be challenging. Although serious organic illnesses can cause these symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome is commonly responsible. It can be difficult to properly evaluate these patients without overusing diagnostic tests and consultation. A practical approach for diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome is suggested, using the Rome II criteria and the presence of alarm symptoms such as weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, fever, or frequent nocturnal symptoms as starting points. If there are no alarm symptoms and the Rome II criteria are not met, it is acceptable to reevaluate the patient at a later date. If there are no alarm symptoms and the Rome II criteria are met, the patient should be categorized on the basis of age: patients 50 years or younger can be evaluated on the basis of predominant symptoms--constipation, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Patients older than 50 years should be fully evaluated and considered for gastroenterology referral. If alarm symptoms are present, a full evaluation should be performed (and gastroenterology referral considered), regardless of the patient's age.
Evaluation and Management of Dyspepsia - Article
ABSTRACT: Dyspepsia, often defined as chronic or recurrent discomfort centered in the upper abdomen, can be caused by a variety of conditions. Common etiologies include peptic ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux. Serious causes, such as gastric and pancreatic cancers, are rare but must also be considered. Symptoms of possible causes often overlap, which can make initial diagnosis difficult. In many patients, a definite cause is never established. The initial evaluation of patients with dyspepsia includes a thorough history and physical examination, with special attention given to elements that suggest the presence of serious disease. Endoscopy should be performed promptly in patients who have "alarm symptoms" such as melena or anorexia. Optimal management remains controversial in young patients who do not have alarm symptoms. Although management should be individualized, a cost-effective initial approach is to test for Helicobacter pylori and treat the infection if the test is positive. If the H. pylori test is negative, empiric therapy with a gastric acid suppressant or prokinetic agent is recommended. If symptoms persist or recur after six to eight weeks of empiric therapy, endoscopy should be performed.