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

A. P.S. Hungin, L. Chang, G. R. Locke, E. H. Dennis, V. Barghout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

338 Scopus citations

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 dialling (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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1365-1375
Number of pages11
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Volume21
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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