Symptom-based diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome: the more things change, the more they stay the same

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2011 Mar;40(1):87-103. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2010.12.007.


Medical students are taught that 90% of all diagnoses are made through careful assessment of the patients' symptoms. Clinicians now rely heavily on techniques such as endoscopy or radiology before making a definitive diagnosis of organic disease. Most gastroenterologists would require endoscopic confirmation before labeling a patient as having peptic ulcer disease and would make a diagnosis of Crohn disease based on small bowel radiology or colonoscopy. However, the most common causes of symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract are functional. It is important that clinicians obtain a thorough history so that the disorder of the patient can be accurately defined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Digestive System*
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity