Reviewer: Willem J de Villiers, MD, PhD, MHCM (University of Kentucky College of Medicine)
Description: This is a comprehensive education guide for patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is written in simple, but not condescending, language and I can highly recommend it to IBS patients who are seeking to "conquer IBS" and who want to be "liberated from suffering from chronic stomach or bowel problems."
Purpose: The author is an authority on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and he has compiled a wonderful layperson's guide to this vexing disorder. It provides an easy to understand, state-of-the-art update on current evidence-based data on IBS pathophysiology and therapy. There are numerous pearls of wisdom in this book and IBS patients and gastroenterologists alike will benefit by browsing through the different chapters.
Audience: The guide is aimed at the layperson suffering from IBS. The level of complexity is appropriate and the writing style is engaging, without being condescending. The author is an undisputed authority in this field and his contagious enthusiasm makes the guide a pleasure to read.
Features: Nine chapters address common patient questions such as the nature of IBS, its incidence and diagnosis, the evaluation of evidence-based effective therapy and the role(s) of diet and exercise. Other important chapters describe alternative treatments, over-the-counter medications, and prescription therapies and a final chapter looks at future developments and offers a guide to support organizations. The no-nonsense style, superb illustrations and useful tables, appendixes and glossary all enhance the guide's comprehensive nature. I particularly enjoyed the section on the placebo effect of medications and treatments in IBS.
Assessment: This is a wonderfully informative guide for patients with IBS and should also be read by gastroenterologists and GI fellows-in-training. It is comprehensive, yet written in a simple and elegant style. I would highly recommend this guide and will obtain several copies to make available to my patients.