Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal motility disorder.
The impact of it is underestimated and poorly quantified, as clinicians may see only a minority of sufferers.
| Total prevalence of medically diagnosed IBS in 5009 screening interviews was 14%
|Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics|
Professor Hungin and colleagues determined the prevalence, symptom patterns and impact of irritable bowel syndrome in the US.
The investigators used quota sampling and random-digit telephone dialling, the screening interview, in a 2-phase community survey.
The investigative team identified individuals with medically diagnosed IBS or individuals not formally diagnosed, but fulfilling IBS diagnostic criteria according to Manning, Rome I or II.
The team used in-depth follow-up interviews to obtain Information on IBS symptoms, general health status, lifestyle and impact of symptoms on individuals' lives.
The investigators also collected data for healthy controls identified in the screening interviews.
The team found that the total prevalence of medically diagnosed IBS in 5009 screening interviews was 14%.
The investigators reported that of those identified in the screening interviews, 3% were medically undiagnosed, but 11% met IBS criteria.
The team noted that abdominal pain/discomfort was the most common symptom prompting consultation.
The investigators observed that most medically diagnosed and undiagnosed sufferers reported alternating constipation and diarrhoea.
Previously diagnosed gastrointestinal disorders occurred more often in sufferers than non-sufferers.
In addition, the team noted that IBS sufferers had more days off work and days in bed, and reduced activities to a greater extent than non-sufferers.
Professor Hungin's team concludes, “Most (77%) irritable bowel syndrome sufferers in the US are undiagnosed.”
“Irritable bowel syndrome has a substantial impact on sufferers' well-being and health, with considerable socioeconomic consequences.”