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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Jan;22(1):4-12.

Irritable bowel syndrome in the 21st century: perspectives from Asia or South-east Asia.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Asian irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) studies not only confirm the truth of this functional disorder but also describe the current disease situation of this continent, with its variable socioeconomic backgrounds. Most Asian community IBS prevalence is within 5-10%, regardless of gender or ethnic character. As well as meeting the main Rome II criteria, Asian IBS subjects also have many minor symptoms. Thus this recommendation remains useful to diagnose Asian IBS. Also, female patients commonly express constipation-predominant (C-) symptoms. Extra-colonic symptoms are common in Asia, for example dyspepsia, insomnia and irritable urinary bladder. Asian IBS subjects do experience psychological disturbances including anxiety, depression, agoraphobia and neuroticism. Accordingly, their quality of life is poor and there is absenteeism leading to excessive physician visits. Abnormal gut motor and sensory functions have been indicated among the Asian IBS subjects. Now, there is evidence of altered colonic neuroimmune function leading to gut hypersensitivity and dysmotility. An Asia-Pacific trial also confirmed tegaserod efficacy on female C-IBS subjects. More than 90% of nurses have very limited IBS knowledge, and are unable even to explain it clearly. In conclusion, Western recommended criteria clearly diagnose Asian IBS and many factors are mutual leading to IBS. Current IBS treatments remain useful but additional reeducation for medical professionals appears to be needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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