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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Jun 1;21(11):1365-75.

Irritable bowel syndrome in the United States: prevalence, symptom patterns and impact.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Integrated Health Care Research, Wolfson Research Institute, University of Durham, Stockton-on-Tees, UK. a.p.s.hungin@durham.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The impact of irritable bowel syndrome, a gastrointestinal motility disorder, is underestimated and poorly quantified, as clinicians may see only a minority of sufferers.

AIM:

To determine the prevalence, symptom patterns and impact of irritable bowel syndrome in the US.

METHODS:

This two-phase community survey used quota sampling and random-digit telephone dialing (screening interview) to identify individuals with medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome or individuals not formally diagnosed, but fulfilling irritable bowel syndrome diagnostic criteria (Manning, Rome I or II). Information on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, general health status, lifestyle and impact of symptoms on individuals' lives was collected using in-depth follow-up interviews. Data were also collected for healthy controls identified in the screening interviews.

RESULTS:

The total prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in 5009 screening interviews was 14.1% (medically diagnosed: 3.3%; undiagnosed, but meeting irritable bowel syndrome criteria: 10.8%). Abdominal pain/discomfort was the most common symptom prompting consultation. Most sufferers (74% medically diagnosed; 63% undiagnosed) reported alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Previously diagnosed gastrointestinal disorders occurred more often in sufferers than non-sufferers. Irritable bowel syndrome sufferers had more days off work (6.4 vs. 3.0) and days in bed, and reduced activities to a greater extent than non-sufferers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most (76.6%) 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.

PMID:
15932367
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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