The burden and management of patients with IBS: results from a survey in Spanish gastroenterologists
Revista Espanola de Enfermedades Digestivas
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common and complex disorder. Though it is estimated that IBS constitutes an important part of the gastroenterology (GI) practice, the burden of this problem in the GI outpatients' clinics in Spain is unclear. Aim: the aim of this study is to obtain a "shot" of the burden and management of this syndrome in the daily GI practice. Methods: 508 general gastroenterologists from all over the country were approached and asked to complete a survey that included
... that included questions about their daily practice and the definition, diagnosis and treatment of IBS. Results: 55% of the surveyed physicians estimate that IBS constitute between a quarter and a half of all their consultations; and pointed out that most of these patients were referred from primary care. Overall, the Spanish gastroenterologists show an adequate knowledge of the different diagnostic criteria, though they do not always follow the current guidelines. Up to 55% of the physicians always perform a complementary test to support their diagnosis and 40% order a diagnostic test only in older patients (> 50 years) or in presence of alarm symptoms. Interestingly, 80% of the gastroenterologists start empirical treatment based on the patients' symptoms. Conclusions: though Spanish gastroenterologists seem to have an adequate theoretical knowledge of the disease, they do not systematically follow current guidelines and tend to manage IBS symptoms based on their own criteria.