Four patients with the irritable bowel syndrome completed 28 day continuous stool collections and concurrent symptom diaries. The diaries revealed that three patients had multiple pains. When the diaries were compared with objective measurements, no relationship could be detected between the occurrence of pain or any other symptom on the one hand and stool weight, stool form or consistency, mean whole gut transit time, or interdefecatory transit on the other. Patients' descriptions of urgency, looseness and frequency of defecation give little guide to intestinal events, at least using currently available techniques.
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