Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gut disorder that typically manifests in early adult years. One of the two major symptoms of the disease is chronic, visceral pain. The patients report pain as the most distressing symptom with the greatest impact on quality of life, challenging both to patients and healthcare providers. Areas covered: This review focuses on the pathophysiology of abdominal pain in IBS and describes current treatment possibilities. It also covers latest findings that may lead to novel pharmacological options in IBS pain management. Expert commentary: Pain is the main contributor to severity in IBS. Seeking pain alleviation is the most common reason that IBS sufferers consult with their physicians. Not all patients report being satisfied with available treatments for pain in IBS and there is a pressing need to find new, more efficient therapies for this syndrome.
Keywords: Irritable bowel syndrome; chronic pain; microbiota; pain management; pharmacotherapy; visceral pain.