The new guideline on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) advocates distinguishing IBS patients who predominantly suffer from constipation from those who mainly suffer from diarrhoea or from alternating bouts of diarrhoea and constipation. In the latter two groups, coeliac disease should be excluded, as should lactose intolerance if at all possible. Since there is no gold standard for the treatment of IBS a thorough explanation of the condition to patients is recommended.
Conflict of interest: none declared. Financial support: none declared.