Study: Up to 75% of irritable bowel syndrome patients undiagnosed: 5 report insights

A report published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology claims providers fail to diagnose up to 75 percent of individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.

Washington University in St. Louis Associate Professor Gregory Sayuk, MD conducted a 1,924 person online survey to compare gastrointestinal symptoms, healthcare visits, wellbeing, symptom management and treatment satisfaction in patients with and without IBS.

Here's what he found.

1. Of the respondents, 56.9 percent, or 1,094 individuals, met criteria for IBS.

2. Of the 1,094 individuals, 830 had no IBS diagnosis despite meeting the criteria.

3. Forty-five percent of gastroenterologists and 42 percent of primary care physicians diagnosed most participants.

4. Diagnosed patients had more severe GI symptoms than undiagnosed individuals. Diagnosed patients were more likely to report adverse symptoms as well.

5. Forty percent of participants received treatment for IBS from primary care physicians. Twenty-six percent of diagnosed patients and 43 percent of undiagnosed individuals were not receiving any type of care.

Dr. Sayuk said many undiagnosed patients had IBS like symptoms. He added that despite symptoms impacting quality of life, more than one-third of individuals were not receiving treatment.

Bridgewater, N.J.-based Salix Pharmaceuticals sponsored and funded the report.

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