Food and Behaviour Research

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Understanding symptom burden and attitudes to irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea: Results from patient and healthcare professional surveys

Törnblom H, Goosey R, Wiseman G, Baker S, Emmanuel A (2018) United European Gastroenterol J. 2018 Jul; 

Web URL: Read the article on Sage Journals here


Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea (IBS-D) comprises multiple troublesome symptoms and negatively impacts patients’ quality of life.

The objective of this article is to assess IBS-D patient burden and patient and healthcare professional (HCP) attitudes towards IBS.

Patients and HCPs from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom completed internet-based surveys via market research panels. Attitudes to IBS-D-related statements were scored using seven-point Likert scales.

The patient survey included 513 patients (70% female, mean age 40.9 years). Faecal urgency was reported as the most troublesome symptom (27%) and fatigue occurred on the most days per month (mean: 18); 61% of patients used ≥3 types of treatment daily or intermittently; 19% used antidepressants daily. Thirty-three per cent thought HCPs should listen and provide more support and 46% reported willingness to ‘try anything’ to help manage their IBS–D. The HCP survey included 366 primary care physicians and 313 gastroenterologists: A total of 70% and 65%, respectively, agreed it was important that IBS-D patients feel listened to and supported; 73% agreed their main aim was to improve quality of life; ∼30% expressed frustration at managing IBS-D.


IBS-D imposes a substantial burden on patients and HCPs. These findings point towards a need for improved patient-HCP communication.