Are your IBS symptoms more challenging to manage than they were a year ago? You’re not alone

(BPT) – If you live with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), does it seem like your symptoms have not improved in the last 12 months? According to recent survey results, this has been the experience for many adults living with IBS. This data comes from a recent Salix-sponsored survey of more than 700 IBS patients, of which nearly half (49%) of respondents found their IBS symptoms more challenging to manage in the past year. Additionally, the majority of respondents reported that their multiple GI symptoms have not improved over the last 12 months (between 77% and 81% of respondents across all IBS symptoms included in the survey).

This April, for IBS Awareness Month, Salix Pharmaceuticals, in partnership with the Farleigh Dickinson University Poll, released the second annual “Patient Perspectives Report: Living with IBS Now.” The report, which is available at, reveals insights into the symptoms and behaviors of people living with the condition.

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects 13.7 million adults in the United States. People with IBS often experience reoccurring issues with abdominal discomfort or pain that are associated with a range of symptoms, which can include diarrhea, constipation, or alternating episodes of both (mixed). Symptoms of IBS can range from mild to severe and can be difficult to manage, however, treatment options are available and should be discussed with your health care provider.

Why has IBS been tougher to manage this past year?

When asked what made the management of their symptoms most challenging in the last 12 months, respondents said:

  • Changes in their normal routine such as eating habits, exercise, and daily activities (79%)
  • Less communication with their health care provider (30%)
  • Changes in their IBS treatment (22%)

In-person versus telehealth appointments

Almost all HCP diagnosed patients surveyed (92%) were initially diagnosed with IBS during an in-person appointment. Additionally, more than half (61%) of those surveyed prefer in-person communications with their health care provider. The survey also found that 45% of respondents said telehealth has made receiving care easier.

Seeking treatment for IBS

Another takeaway from the survey regarding doctor-patient communications is that when meeting with their health care provider, 40% of patients only discuss their main IBS symptom, rather than discussing all of their IBS-related symptoms. It is important that patients discuss all of their IBS symptoms in order for their health care provider to have a complete picture of that patient’s experience with the condition.

If you are experiencing frequent symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, changes in bowel movements, abdominal pain, gas and/or bloating, it’s important to consult your health care provider to discuss symptom management and treatment goals.