Effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome on Daily Activities Vary Among Subtypes Based on Results From the IBS in America Survey

Sarah Ballou, Courtney McMahon, Ha Neul Lee, Jesse Katon, Andrea Shin, Vikram Rangan, Prashant Singh, Judy Nee, Michael Camilleri, Anthony Lembo, Johanna Iturrino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is associated with significant disease burden and decreased quality of life (QOL). We investigated the effects of IBS on different areas of daily function and compared these among disease subtypes. Methods: The Life with IBS survey was conducted by Gfk Public Affairs & Corporate Communications from September through October 2015. Respondents met Rome III criteria for constipation-predominant or diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-C and IBS-D, respectively). Data were collected from 3254 individuals (mean age, 47 years; 81% female; and 90% Caucasian) who met IBS criteria. Results: Respondents who were employed or in school (n = 1885) reported that IBS symptoms affected their productivity an average of 8.0 days out of the month and they missed approximately 1.5 days of work/school per month because of IBS. More than half the individuals reported that their symptoms were very bothersome. Individuals with IBS-C were more likely than with IBS-D to report avoiding sex, difficulty concentrating, and feeling self-conscious. Individuals with IBS-D reported more avoidance of places without bathrooms, difficulty making plans, avoiding leaving the house, and reluctance to travel. These differences remained when controlling for symptom bothersomeness, age, sex, and employment status. In exchange for 1 month of relief from IBS, more than half of the sample reported they would be willing to give up caffeine or alcohol, 40% would give up sex, 24.5% would give up cell phones, and 21.5% would give up the internet for 1 month. Conclusions: Although the perceived effects of IBS symptoms on productivity are similar among its subtypes, patients with IBS-C and IBS-D report differences in specific areas of daily function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2471-2478.e3
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Abdominal Pain
  • Absenteeism
  • Daily Living
  • Presenteeism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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