This guideline covers diagnosing and managing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in people aged 18 and over. It details how to accurately diagnose IBS, and aims to improve the quality of life for adults with IBS by promoting effective management using dietary and lifestyle advice, pharmacological therapy and referral for psychological interventions.

In February 2015, we reviewed the evidence for dietary and lifestyle advice and pharmacological interventions, and added to and updated sections 1.2.1 and 1.2.2.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Commissioners and providers
  • People with suspected or confirmed IBS and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

Next review: 2017

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Recommendation in this guideline has been partially updated by recommendation in Ovarian cancer (NICE guideline CG122; published April 2011).

This guideline was previously called irritable bowel syndrome in adults: diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) accreditation logo