Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition and a significant cost burden on health care.

IBS affects around 11% of the global population – 1 in 9 – and in Australia, as many as 1 in 5 Australians will experience symptoms of IBS in their lifetime.

IBS is a functional disorder. Incomplete knowledge of pathology, therefore the approach is symptom management – symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating and alternating constipation and diarrhoea.

IBS is one of the most burdensome chronic ailments reported by patients, with symptoms restricting sufferers day-to-day activities an average of 73 days a year.

Patients have a poor quality of life and utilise the healthcare system more than other patients. According to the IBS Global Impact Report 2018, IBS has a profound impact on patients with:

  • 45% of IBS-D (diarrhoea predominant) patients agreed with the statement “I’m willing to try anything to help manage my IBS”
  • 14% of patients reporting they would risk a 1/1000 chance of death to live symptom-free
  • Patients reported they would give up 25% of their remaining life (approx. 15 years) to live symptom-free
  • 47% of patients with IBS-D stated that they had little or no ability to predict their symptoms on a daily basis

Unsurprisingly, 50% of IBS patients turn to dietary supplements and complementary medicines to manage and relieve their often-debilitating symptoms.

Costs to society in terms of direct medical costs and work absenteeism is HUGE – amounting to $21 Billion or more annually.

For further information on IBS, visit International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders – www.aboutibs.org