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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Second Cause of Work Absenteeism in India

by Rishika Gupta on April 17, 2018 at 6:56 PM
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 Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Second Cause of Work Absenteeism in India

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have been experienced by nearly 5-10% of the participating population. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation occurred almost every day but people still did not got see the doctor, finds a study.

The following study analyzed IBS from both physician and patient's point of view, i.e., with regard to the factors such as awareness, impact on day-to-day life and treatment options.


Unexpectedly, the research found that most people (84.6%) people said that abdominal pain or other symptoms of IBS could not be ignored, even so, a 58% of them used over the counter medications for relief they did not want to go to a doctor.

If the issue is as huge as it looks, then it is important to raise awareness about the disease both in medical fraternity and patients.

Speaking about this, Dr. Philip Abraham, Consultant Gastroenterology, P.D Hinduja Hospital, said, "IBS is a common chronic condition of the digestive system and is second only to the common cold as a cause of absence from work. This condition often begins in young adulthood with women twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with it. Most people with IBS have a mild form of the disorder and can cope quite well without getting any treatment. However, sometimes, the symptoms are so strong that it can significantly affect everyday lives, causing distress. A number of natural therapies have been used for the treatment of IBS. It is possible to relieve the symptoms of this condition through antispasmodics. Peppermint oil has emerged as a safe treatment option for the condition."

IBS comes with a certain common symptom such as abdominal pain with changes in bowel habits, and the abnormal pain can sometimes be crampy with variations in intensity.

Some people notice that emotional stress and eating worsen the pain and that having a bowel movement relieves the pain. Menstrual cycles and pain episodes in women have shown an association in women.

Dr. Chetan Bhatt, Gastroenterologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, said, "Currently, there are many challenges that cloud the diagnosis and subsequent management of IBS. Some of these include lack of consistent biological markers, reliance on patient symptoms for diagnosis, difficulty in quantifying symptoms objectively, varying symptoms among individuals, and the fact that many organic conditions can masquerade as IBS. Lack of awareness about the condition among people and the medical fraternity at large further exacerbates the problem."

Almost 55.9% of the doctors used symptom-based approach- multi-drug approach in the treatment of IBS, 54.5% doctors prescribed antispasmodics and the rest 30.8% prescribed antibiotics, antispasmodics, revealed the study.

The study has also revealed that nearly eighty percent of the doctors considered an antispasmodic to relieve the pain symptoms. Peppermint oil has also emerged as a good option for treating abdominal pain and gas, bloating.

Dr.KK Agarwal who is the president of HCFI said "A simple mantra that everyone must remember is that if there is no pain, it can't be IBS. Raising awareness about the disease incidence is key. "

Pain relief from abdominal pain can be obtained from both proper spread of knowledge, and the use of available therapies say diet restriction and peppermint oil therapy.

The following the specific key facts that were found in the study

  • Nearly 33.3 percent of people believe that the condition is not serious enough to contact a doctor.
  • Some8.3 percentage of people won't take any treatment at all.
  • Nearly 46 percent of people on the survey have said that IBS has hampered their daily life.
  • Fifty percent of the patients who have IBS take multiple drugs including antibiotics, antispasmodics, etc., each time they have an attack.
  • Only 41.6 percent of people opted for diet change or probiotics for each attack.

Source: Medindia


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