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Epidemiological characteristics of a population visiting a patient-centered informative website about irritable bowel syndrome

Journal Volume 86 - 2023
Issue Fasc.1 - Original articles
Author(s) K. Van Malderen 1 2, J.G. De Man 1, B.Y. De Winter 1 2, H.U. De Schepper 1 2
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Full Article
PAGES 17-25
(1) Laboratory of Experimental Medicine and Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Infla-Med centre of excellence, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp, Belgium
(2) Departement of Gastroenterology and hepatology, Antwerp University Hospital, Drie Eikenstraat 655, Edegem, Belgium

Background and aims: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder characterized by abdominal pain and an altered bowel habit. The aim of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of a population visiting a patient-centered informative website about IBS.

Methods: Five digital surveys were used to assess the Rome IV criteria, red flag symptoms, healthcare use, psychological comorbidities, quality of life, symptom severity, diet, physical activity. Patients were divided into a Rome positive and negative population with the Rome positive population being further subtyped based on dominant stool pattern.

Results: Red flag symptoms (42%) and comorbid psychological disorders (65% anxiety and 39% depression) were common. Despite consulting health care professionals and therapy, most patients (96%) still experienced moderate to severe symptoms with an average impact on quality of life. 73% performed regular physical exercise and 25% of the Rome positive population followed the FODMAP diet. Almost all participants consulted a health care professional at one point in time and used some form of therapy. 54% of the patients believed there is generally sufficient information available and 57% thinks that their physician takes IBS seriously. However, only 41% thinks that their physician has sufficient knowledge about IBS.

Conclusions: This study underlines the importance of a thorough characterization of IBS patients. Furthermore, patients expressed an urgent need for high quality information and education for both health care professionals and patients.

Keywords: irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, epidemiology, motility, neurogastroenterology.

© Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica.
PMID 36842172