Basic Summary for Irritable bowel syndrome


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Main name of condition: Irritable bowel syndrome
Other names or spellings: IBS, spastic colon, mucous colitis, irritable colitis, spastic bowel, functional bowel disease, irritable gut syndrome


What is Irritable bowel syndrome?
  Brief description of Irritable bowel syndrome: Spasms in the colon wall
  Parent types of Irritable bowel syndrome: Digestive Diseases, Chronic digestive diseases, Inflammatory bowel disease
  Organs Affected by Irritable bowel syndrome: bowel, digestive
How many people get Irritable bowel syndrome?
  Prevalance of Irritable bowel syndrome: 5 million in the USA 1987 (Digestive diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact NIH Publication No. 94-1447, US Government Printing Office, 1994); 11 per 1000 (NHIS95)
  Prevalance Rate of Irritable bowel syndrome: approx 1 in 54 or 1.84% or 5 million people in USA [about data]
  Lifetime risk of Irritable bowel syndrome: about 30% of people
  Prevalance of Irritable bowel syndrome: 5 million people (1987)1 ... IBS is a common problem, affecting up to one in five people.2
Who gets Irritable bowel syndrome?
  Patient Profile for Irritable bowel syndrome: Usually adults aged 20-60
  Profile for Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS affects people of all ages, including children. 3 ... IBS often begins in the teen years or young adulthood but can affect people of any age. 2
  Gender Profile for Irritable bowel syndrome: Women 75%.
  Gender Profile for Irritable bowel syndrome: The majority of people with IBS (perhaps 75 percent) are women.2
How serious is Irritable bowel syndrome?
  Prognosis of Irritable bowel syndrome: Mostly good. Not usually serious or life-shortening although attacks are problematic and often recur.
  Prognosis of Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does not cause permanent harm to the intestines and does not lead to intestinal bleeding of the bowel or to a serious disease such as cancer. Often IBS is just a mild annoyance, but for some people it can be disabling. They may be unable to go to social events, to go out to a job, or to travel even short distances. Most people with IBS, however, are able to control their symptoms through medications prescribed by their physicians, diet, and stress management. 4 ... IBS can be painful. But it does not damage the bowel or cause any other diseases. 5
  Complications of Irritable bowel syndrome: see complications of Irritable bowel syndrome
What causes Irritable bowel syndrome?
  Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome: The cause of IBS is not known, and as yet there is no cure. Doctors call it a functional disorder because there is no sign of disease when the colon is examined. 4
  Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome: see causes of Irritable bowel syndrome
What are the symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome?
  Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome: see symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome
How is it treated?
  Treatments for Irritable bowel syndrome: see treatments for Irritable bowel syndrome
Society issues for Irritable bowel syndrome
  Hospitalizations for Irritable bowel syndrome: 34,000 in the USA 1987 (Digestive diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact NIH Publication No. 94-1447, US Government Printing Office, 1994)
  Hospitalization statistics for Irritable bowel syndrome: The following are statistics from various sources about hospitalizations and Irritable bowel syndrome:
  • 0.045% (5,798) of hospital consultant episodes were for irritable bowel syndrome in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 92% of hospital consultant episodes for irritable bowel syndrome required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 28% of hospital consultant episodes for irritable bowel syndrome were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 72% of hospital consultant episodes for irritable bowel syndrome were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 24% of hospital consultant episodes for irritable bowel syndrome required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 5.5 days was the mean length of stay in hospitals for irritable bowel syndrome in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 3 days was the median length of stay in hospitals for irritable bowel syndrome in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 44 was the mean age of patients hospitalised for irritable bowel syndrome in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 80% of hospital consultant episodes for irritable bowel syndrome occurred in 15-59 year olds in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 5% of hospital consultant episodes for irritable bowel syndrome occurred in people over 75 in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 66% of hospital consultant episodes for irritable bowel syndrome were single day episodes in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0.016% (8,354) of hospital bed days were for irritable bowel syndrome in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)

  Hospitalizations for Irritable bowel syndrome: 34,000 (1987)1
  Physician office visits for Irritable bowel syndrome: 3.55 million in the USA 1987 (Digestive diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact NIH Publication No. 94-1447, US Government Printing Office, 1994)
  Physician office visits for Irritable bowel syndrome: 3.5 million (1987)1
  Prescriptions for Irritable bowel syndrome: 2.2 million in the USA 1985 (Digestive diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact NIH Publication No. 94-1447, US Government Printing Office, 1994)
  Prescriptions for Irritable bowel syndrome: 2.2 million (1985)1
  Disability from Irritable bowel syndrome: 400,000 in the USA 1983-87 (Digestive diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact NIH Publication No. 94-1447, US Government Printing Office, 1994)
  Disability from Irritable bowel syndrome: 400,000 people (1983-87) 1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Digestive Diseases Statistics: NIDDK
2. excerpt from Irritable Bowel Syndrome: NWHIC
3. excerpt from Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children: NIDDK
4. excerpt from Irritable Bowel Syndrome: NIDDK
5. excerpt from IBS: NIDDK

Last revision: May 30, 2003

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