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The Clinical and Economic Burden of IBSTable 2 Healthcare Utilization Among Patients With IBS Compared With the General Population*(37) Patients with IBS, General population, % (95% CI)% (95% CI)Study parameter(n = 53)(n = 10,787)Absenteeism from workplace or school due to illness during 2-month period32** (20–48)18 (17–19)Consulted family physician during 2-month period83** (64–100)38 (37–39)Mean number of visits to family physician during 3-month period3.8** (3.0–4.6)2.4 (1.8–3.0)Mean number of visits to family PA 1.1 (0.6–1.6)0.8 (0.7–0.8)Consulted physical therapist during 1-year period30** (19–46)15 (14–15)Consulted specialist during 2-month period25 (15–39)16 (15–17)Consulted other therapist*** during 5-year period32** (20–48)15 (14–16)CI = confidence interval; IBS = irritable bowel syndrome; PA = physician assistant. *Data from the Dutch National Survey of Morbidity and Intervention in General Practice; **p < 0.05 vs general population; ***Therapist other than family physician, PA, or physical therapist.
significantly more physician visits related to GI symp-toms in the previous year compared with those indi-viduals who did not meet criteria for a functional GIdisorder (1.64 vs 0.09 mean visits; p = 0.0001).Patients with IBS also have a tendency to report andseek medical care for non-GI symptoms more often thanindividuals who do not have IBS (35,37). For example,in the US householder survey, individuals who metsymptom criteria for IBS were more likely than thosewho did not meet criteria for a functional bowel disor-der to visit a physician for non-GI symptoms in the pre-vious year (3.88 vs 1.77 mean visits; p = 0.0001) (36).In a population-based study using data from the DutchNational Survey of Morbidity and Intervention in Gen-eral Practice, patients with IBS were more likely to haveconsulted a family physician, physical therapist, or othertherapist compared with the general population (Table2) (37). The authors noted that the high frequency ofconsultations with alternative therapists (more than dou-ble that of the general population) possibly reflects afailure of currently available traditional therapies tomeet patients’ needs. Not unexpectedly, in the Dutchstudy, patients with IBS (n = 56) were more likely thanthe general population (n = 10,787) to report bowelsymptoms, including pain (43% vs 7%), constipation(42% vs 7%), stomachache (30% vs 5%), and diarrhea(21% vs 5%; p < 0.001 for each comparison) (37).Moreover, patients with IBS were also more likely toreport a variety of non-GI symptoms, including tired-ness (57% vs 31%), headache (55% vs 32%), anxiety(43% vs 19%), sleep disturbance (38% vs 16%),excitability (36% vs 15%), and apathy (34% vs 12%; p< 0.001 for each comparison). Finally, patients with IBSwere more likely than the general population to reportsocial problems, including difficulty with social inter-actions (15% vs 7%), interactions with children (14% vs4%), loneliness (12% vs 5%), and partner relationships(11% vs 4%). These data add to a growing body of evi-dence indicating that patients with IBS report more psychosocial problems and nonbowel symptoms thando individuals without IBS (36,37).