IBS in America 2017

The Long and Difficult Journey To An IBS Diagnosis

Last updated: September 2018

We conducted a large survey of people who have IBS, and asked many questions about what its like living with an illness that is difficult to diagnose and even more complicated to manage. Here are the highlights from what our community shared with us:

Almost 25% of people experienced symptoms before turning 18, but many didn’t seek a formal diagnosis until well into adulthood. Some people chose not to seek a diagnosis at all. When people initially experienced symptoms, many just ignored it, while others didn’t think the symptoms were even serious enough to seek medical attention. 43% took matters into their own hands and tried to treat with over-the-counter medication.

The path to a diagnosis is not an easy one for IBS sufferers, with many (37%) receiving a wrong diagnosis of either GERD, depression, lactose intolerance, stress/anxiety or food allergies. Gastroenterologists were the most common diagnosticians of IBS (61%), followed by primary care physicians (33%). After a diagnosis, many people choose not to continue to see a healthcare provider and here’s why …

After being formally diagnosed with IBS, IBS sufferers expressed a lot of negative feelings. They also wished they had more knowledge about the kind of impact IBS would have on their life. Here’s what they had to say …

IBS isn’t the only condition people have to live with. A vast majority of them have also been diagnosed with other illnesses like migraines, chronic pain and fatigue, sleep disorders, mood disorders and many, many other conditions.

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