Nursing management of irritable bowel syndrome
Evidence and practice    

Nursing management of irritable bowel syndrome

Alison Coutts Senior lecturer, School of Health Sciences, Division of Nursing, City, University of London, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your awareness of the range of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that patients may experience

  • To recognise that you may encounter patients with symptoms of IBS who are seeking assistance for other conditions

  • To advise patients on the dietary and lifestyle changes that may reduce their IBS symptoms and improve their quality of life

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an umbrella term for a common range of symptoms such as abdominal pain, distension (bloating), diarrhoea and constipation. Nurses will often encounter patients with IBS in their day-to-day practice. As well as patients who present to healthcare services seeking assistance in managing their IBS, nurses may also encounter patients who were initially seeking assistance for other conditions, but were also found to be exhibiting symptoms of IBS. This article outlines the causes of IBS and the range of symptoms that people with IBS may experience. It details the pharmacological therapies available for IBS, and examines the range of management interventions that nurses can use to ameliorate the underlying factors that contribute to IBS.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11363

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Coutts A (2019) Nursing management of irritable bowel syndrome. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11363

Published online: 29 April 2019

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