Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, chronic disorder that reduces patients' quality-of-life.
Although highly prevalent, little is known about patients' understanding of this disorder.
Dr Lacy and colleagues from the USA conducted a survey to evaluate the knowledge, fears and concerns of IBS patients.
|1 in 7 stated that IBS turns into cancer|
| Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics |
The research team prospectively evaluated 736 IBS patients.
Each patient received a validated questionnaire to evaluate knowledge, attitudes and fears regarding IBS.
A total of 261 out of 664 potential respondents completed the questionnaire.
The team reported that 83% of respondents were women, with a mean age of 54 years, and mean duration of symptoms of 14 years.
The team observed that patients frequently believed that IBS develops because of anxiety, dietary factors, and depression.
Few respondents recognized that abdominal pain is the cardinal symptom of IBS.
The team noted that 41% of patients stated that colonoscopy can diagnose IBS.
The researchers found that 1 in 7 patients stated that IBS turns into cancer.
The research team observed that 30% thought that IBS increases the risk of inflammatory bowel disease.
Dr Lacy's team concludes, "Many IBS patients have significant misconceptions regarding the nature of their disease and its prognosis."
"An overwhelming majority of IBS patients believe that anxiety, dietary factors and depression cause IBS."
"These findings are discordant with physicians' views and practices, and highlight the need for patient-oriented educational programs."