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Learning objectives

  1. Recognise the recurrent IBS-related symptoms that your customers may present with
  2. Be able to differentiate recurrent symptoms from acute symptoms
  3. Feel confident in recommending an effective product to manage your customers’ symptoms
  4. Be able to provide your customers with additional self-care advice.

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterised by recurrent abdominal pain associated with changes in stool frequency and form.1 The causes of IBS are complex and not fully understood. Possible causes include hypersensitivity of the gut lining, abnormal gastrointestinal immune function, changes in the gut microbiome and abnormal gastrointestinal motility.2

The prevalence of IBS in the general population is estimated to be between 10% and 20%.3 It most commonly affects people between the ages of 20 and 39 years4 and is twice as common in women as in men.3

IBS is one of the most common gastrointestinal ailments among those seeking health care for gastrointestinal disorders, and it has a significant impact on quality of life.1


Symptoms of IBS

Symptoms of IBS may include constipation, diarrhoea or both; abdominal pain or cramps;
and abdominal distension, usually referred to as bloating.3,5

IBS may be classified according to the predominant stool type. Customers may present with varying symptom profiles: diarrhoea predominant; constipation predominant; or with alternating symptom profiles, fluctuating between diarrhoea and constipation.3

Other symptoms may include:5

  • Flatulence or wind
  • Passing mucus from the back passage
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy
  • Nausea
  • Backache
  • Problems urinating
  • Bowel incontinence

Management of IBS-related symptoms

The traditional management of IBS-related symptoms has focused on easing the symptoms.1
However, an increased understanding of the possible causes of IBS has led to the development of other options for relief of both bowel movement-related symptoms and associated abdominal pain.2,6

The lining of the gut, also known as the gut barrier, plays a role in protecting the body from potentially harmful irritants7 and pathogens found in the intestines.8

A loss of this barrier function can lead to abdominal pain and changes in bowel function.8
Restoration of the gut lining and barrier function can improve abdominal pain.8

Treatment to protect the gut barrier has been shown to bring relief of these symptoms in patients with diarrhoea-dominant IBS,9,10 and improve their quality of life.11

Adverse event reporting is available at the end of the module.

Content developed by Reckitt working with CIG Healthcare Partnership.
© 2023 CIG Healthcare Partnership

RKT-M-34415 November 2023