Functional gastrointestinal disorders are associated with impaired quality of life and are among the most common causes of work-related absenteeism. Moreover, studies suggest these disorders also take a toll in the workplace, contributing to problems of "presenteeism" - coming to work but being less productive.
Researcher G. Richard Locke, M.D., FACG from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and co-investigators from Novartis Pharmaceuticals enrolled participants in the Patient Registry for Observational Gastrointestinal Research Epidemiology and Symptom Severity (PROGRESS) study, including patients with IBS with constipation (IBS-C), chronic constipation (CC) alone, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or functional dyspepsia (FD) (chronic or recurrent pain or discomfort centered in the upper abdomen including feeling full earlier than expected with eating, sometimes accompanied by bloating, belching, nausea or heartburn.) Participants answered a questionnaire bi-weekly for a year between April 2005 and April 2006.
In the analysis, Dr. Locke and colleagues found that patients with IBS-C, CC and FD reported greater work productivity loss and daily impairment over a six-month period than patients with GERD alone. The mean hours lost per week for the GERD patients were 6.3 compared to 10.3 hours per week for those with the other functional GI disorders. GERD patients also scored lower on a scale measuring impairment/productivity loss resulting from GI disorders than those patients with chronic functional GI problems, reflecting a greater burden of illness for conditions such as IBS with constipation, chronic constipation and chronic abdominal problems. According to Dr. Locke, "This research demonstrates the significant economic impact of these common conditions."