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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is defined by a set of symptoms affecting a patient’s gastrointestinal system. These symptoms, or immune system reactions, can be produced by a wide range of different medical conditions.
Most often, IBS symptoms are caused by one or more of the following: chemical mechanisms resulting from reactions to certain foods; microorganisms in the gut including bacteria and parasites; yeasts; or celiac disease (gluten intolerance).
8 Quick Facts about IBS:
1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 10-20% of the general population, with women 20-40 years old accounting for the majority of patients. (Astegiano et. al. 2008)
2. Irritable bowel syndrome affects approximately 10-15% of the European population and up to 70% of individuals with IBS may not be formally diagnosed. (Quigley et. al. 2006)
3. Patients with IBS cost a average $1300 more per year than non-IBS patients (Levy et. al. 2001)
4. IBS results in more than $10 billion in direct costs (eg, office visits, medications) and $20 billion in indirect costs (eg, through work absenteeism and reduced productivity) each year. (Foxx-Orenstein A. 2006)
5. Approximately 12% of all primary care doctor visits are IBS related, making IBS one of the top 10 reasons people go to the doctor. (Cash 2005)
6. Roughly 30% of all visits to a gastroenterologist are IBS related, making it the number one reason people see a gastroenterologist. (Cash 2005)
7. IBS is the leading cause of missed work days in the US (second only to the common cold). (Cash 2005)
8. IBS patients are more likely than others to have their gall bladder removed unnecessarily and with no positive effect on their IBS. (Corazziari et. al. 2008)
Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker on IBS. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio. He was recently named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.