Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Huddinge and Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Patient Area Gastroenterology, Dermatology, and Rheumatology, SE-14186, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: [Email]
New diagnostic techniques have advanced our knowledge about the irritable bowel syndrome. The majority of patients that we believed to have a psychosomatic disorder have received other diagnoses explaining their symptoms. Endoscopy makes it possible to diagnose celiac disease before it leads to malnutrition and allows the detection of microscopic colitis as a cause of watery diarrhea. At the severe end of the symptom spectrum enteric dysmotility marks the border at which IBS ceases to be a functional disorder and becomes a genuine motility disorder. Joint hypermobility or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is present in a substantial proportion of patients with enteric dysmotility. Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction is the end-stage of a large number of very rare disorders in which failed peristalsis is the common denominator. Nutritional needs and symptom control are essential in the management of pseudo-obstruction. Home parenteral nutrition is life saving in more than half of patients with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.