The following is an extract
WHAT IS IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME?
Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional GI disorder. The symptoms come from the colon and include abdominal pain and bloating, as well as disturbances in defecation (the process of having a bowel movement). These symptoms are diarrhea, constipation, and diarrhea which alternates with constipation. The stool form (bowel movement) is often altered, being lumpy and hard or loose and watery. Stool passage can be affected with straining at having a bowel movement, urgent need to find a bathroom, or a feeling of nr a m, or a ptied the rectum. Passage of mucus in the stool is also common. The symptoms can be continuous or intermittent.
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED
Functional GI disorders are very common and affect approximately 35 million people in the United States. They account for 10% of visits to primary care doctors and at least 50% of visits to gastroenterologists. Each year, 2.6 million people seek treatment for symptoms related to functional gastrointestinal disorders, and visits to physicians total 3.5 million. Irritable bowel syndrome affects nearly one out of five people in the United States including children, teenagers, young adults, the middle-aged, and the elderly. The average age of onset of irritable bowel syndrome is between 20 and 29 years of age.
Irritable bowel syndrome is prevalent throughout the world including China, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Scandinavia.
A COST OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
Studies now show that these disorders cost billions of dollars in the United States each year in visits to doctors, diagnostic testing, and treatments. Furthermore, since irritable bowel syndrome is the second leading cause of industrial absenteeism, loss of work days is costly to companies and employers, as well as to people with the disorders.