Following an introductory description of the neural, muscular, and hormonal role in intestinal motility, the author discusses the importance of healthy bowel habits and the role of dietary fiber in normal defecation. He then briefly tries to relate the response of the gut to emotions and the importance of sigmoidoscopy in the evaluation of the bowel. The chapters are short, and the explanations are brief—perhaps a bit too brief for the student or generalist interested in basic principles that will permit him to build his understanding of this important segment of gastroenterology from them. For the gastroenterologist the material is rather oversimplified.
Discussion of practical clinical aspects of constipation, functional diarrhea, gas, and dyspepsia is replete with numerous pointers that will render diagnosis and management of their problems much easier. In his discussion of laxatives, the author, recognizing and acknowledging the inadequacy and inaccuracy of the classification, nevertheless uses it