Since 1997, the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) has designated April as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. Additionally, since 2019, April 19th has been officially known as World IBS Day. Throughout the month, health care practitioners, industry partners, patients, family members and caregivers are encouraged to help increase public awareness and educate the public on the chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that impacts millions of people in the United States and worldwide.
About Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
According to IFFGD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort and altered bowel habit (chronic or recurrent diarrhea, constipation, or both – either mixed or in alternation).
Worldwide, an estimate of 10 – 15% of the population is affected by IBS, and up to 45 million people are living with this GI disorder daily. Although IBS is common, patients are often stigmatized and misunderstood, and their symptoms have a significant impact on their quality of life.
Approximately 20-40% of all visits to gastroenterologists are due to IBS symptoms. Symptoms associated with IBS, which can often be confused with IBD and SIBO, can flare up unexpectedly and change over time, even day to day, but are commonly characterized by the following:
- Recurring or chronic bouts of abdominal pain or discomfort
- Abdominal pain or discomfort in association with a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
- Other symptoms may also occur, such as bloating, gas, or urgency
In a survey conducted by IFFGD, nearly 2,000 patients reported that they suffered from IBS symptoms for 6.6 years before being diagnosed. The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) recently developed clinical practice guidelines for IBS including recommendations for both diagnostic testing and therapeutic treatments. The authors of the guidelines endorsed using a positive diagnostic strategy, which is supported by CDI’s proprietary IBSchek® Capillary Collection Kit.
Getting Involved with IBS Awareness Month & World IBS Day
IFFGD President Ceciel T. Rooker commented, “We live in a world where many of us turn to social media for answers and support when we are suffering from our burdensome symptoms. For those living with a chronic GI disorder such as IBS, the need for reliable educational materials and information is extremely important. Educating the ones around us is just the first step to increase public awareness so that the needs of the patient community can be met.”
IFFGD, World IBS Day, CDI and other industry partners invite everyone to join the campaign by visiting www.aboutIBS.org and www.worldibsday.org to learn about IBS. People are encouraged to share information, questions, and personal stories on social platforms using the hashtags #IBSAwarenenssMonth, #IBSEducation, #WorldIBSDay, and #LetsTalkIBS.
As part of these efforts, CDI and MyGIHealth are proud to join World IBS Day, Rome Foundation and a panel of IBS experts to dispel myths and misconceptions of IBS during two live virtual sessions:
- Session 1 is aimed at patients, their families, and the public, and will take place on World IBS Day (April 19th).
- Session 2 is aimed at all health care providers including GIs, primary care physicians, dietitians/nutritionists, and GI health psychologists, and will be held on April 26th.
“By joining together to educate individuals in our communities, we are not only supporting those who suffer from the impacts of IBS, but we also bring hope for the future,” said Rooker.