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Mechanisms of visceral pain in irritable bowel syndrome 

Mechanisms of visceral pain in irritable bowel syndrome
Chapter:
Mechanisms of visceral pain in irritable bowel syndrome
Author(s):

Yasser Al Omran

, and Qasim Aziz

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198834359.003.0016
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date: 25 October 2020

Throughout history, symptoms of nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, and pain have been described in relation to diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal disorders that give rise to these symptoms are broadly characterized as one of two types: structural or functional. Although structural diseases can be easily identified, and even cured by means of medical or surgical intervention, functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) remain a medical enigma. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) constitutes one of the 40 or so conditions under the FGIDs umbrella. It is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits and has an estimated prevalence of 5%–20% in the Western world. Around 40 years ago, little was known about the mechanism behind visceral pain in IBS. Ritchie’s landmark study was one of the first to begin to elucidate some of the mechanisms involved (and therefore provide some insight into putative treatments) in the difficult area of FGIDs.

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