The Spectrum of Constipation-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation are among the most common syndromes in the world. IBS affects around 10% of the population and is marked by recurrent abdominal pain, discomfort, diarrhea, or constipation. People with IBS suffer not only from the GI physical symptoms, but also can suffer emotionally and socially. The same applies to those with chronic constipation, a condition that is often not discussed because of its stigmatizing nature, but is extremely common and can undermine people's quality of life. In this study published in the April 2015 edition of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, investigators at the University of Michigan, including MyGiHealth's own Dr. William Chey, conducted a large US population-based survey to characterize symptom and disease burden in IBS with constipation and in patients with chronic constipation. The researchers obtained information from 328 people with IBS and 552 with chronic constipation. They found that constipation was "extremely" or "very" bothersome in 72% of the IBS respondents, confirming our existing impression that IBS can negatively affect quality of life and must be taken seriously. They also found that people with abdominal discomfort bloating, and straining with defecation were especially bothered by their symptoms, suggesting that these are important targets for effective therapies. People with active GI symptoms lost 4.9 days of work productivity per month, again emphasizing how these common conditions can impact people in many important ways. The MyGiHealth app is one way to monitor GI symptoms in patients with IBS and chronic constipation, and also a way to keep track of how the symptoms are impacting quality of life.