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Prevalence and impact of self-reported irritable bowel symptoms in the general population

Van den Houte, K.; Carbone, F.; Pannemans, J.; Corsetti, M.; Fischler, B.; Piessevaux, H.; Tack, J.


K. Van den Houte

F. Carbone

J. Pannemans

Clinical Associate Professor

B. Fischler

H. Piessevaux

J. Tack


Background and aims
The symptom-based diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have recently been revised in the Rome IV consensus. On the other hand, with rising public awareness of IBS, self-diagnosis and self-management is also increasing. We compared the prevalence and impact of Rome IV-based IBS vs self-diagnosed IBS in the general population.

An internet panel filled out an online survey on bowel symptoms and their impact on health care utilization and daily activities.

A representative internet panel of 1012 individuals completed the online survey. Bowel symptoms were present in 68.6% of the population. Of these, 21% consulted a physician for these symptoms in the last year and 42% earlier. Rome IV IBS criteria were fulfilled by 5.5%, and these were younger and more likely to be female. In this subset, 37% had consulted a physician for IBS symptoms in the preceding year and 29% had done so earlier. A colonoscopy had been performed in 22%. Based on a brief description, 17.6% of the population self-identified as suffering from IBS (p?


Van den Houte, K., Carbone, F., Pannemans, J., Corsetti, M., Fischler, B., Piessevaux, H., & Tack, J. (2019). Prevalence and impact of self-reported irritable bowel symptoms in the general population. United European Gastroenterology Journal, 7(2), 307-315.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 20, 2018
Online Publication Date Dec 22, 2018
Publication Date Mar 1, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 15, 2019
Journal United European Gastroenterology Journal
Print ISSN 2050-6406
Electronic ISSN 2050-6414
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 2
Pages 307-315
Keywords Epidemiology, health care resource utilization, irritable bowel syndrome, medication use, sick leave
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