A 12 month follow up study to assess the impact of symptoms suggestive of irritable bowel syndrome in women presenting to gynaecology clinics with pelvic pain is reported. Of 71 women 37 (52%) had symptoms suggestive of irritable bowel syndrome at presentation. A firm gynaecological diagnosis was reached in only three (8%) women positive for irritable bowel syndrome compared with 15 (44%) without (p = 0.002). After 12 months 24 (65%) women with irritable bowel syndrome were still symptomatic compared with 11 (32%) without (p = 0.01). This study shows that women with irritable bowel syndrome frequently attend gynaecological clinics but rarely have gynaecological pathology and the prognosis is poor in terms of resolution of their pain.
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