• Article

Prevalence and demographics of irritable bowel syndrome results from a large web-based survey

Background: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal disorder, and its prevalence and demographics have been evaluated by different methodologies with varying results. Aim: To evaluate irritable bowel syndrome demographic and prevalence characteristics utilizing a web-enabled panel. Methods: From an existing 150 000-member panel,

31 829 individuals were randomly selected and sent screening questionnaires to evaluate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Individuals who agreed to participate and completed the screening questionnaire

received a second questionnaire related to a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, a more detailed symptom description, and additional burden of illness data. Results: Irritable bowel syndrome prevalence was 7%.

Prevalence was higher in women vs. men, unmarried individuals vs. married individuals and unemployed individuals vs. employed individuals. Of those completing the second questionnaire, 51% had seen their

physicians for irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in the past year and most had an episode within the past 3 months. During the past year, pproximately half of the participants had used a prescription medication,

and over 90% had used an over-the-counter medication for irritable bowel syndrome. Participants with irritable bowel syndrome demonstrated quality-of-life reductions relative to norms of the United States population. Conclusions: Web-enabled data collection represents a novel tool for rapidly surveying a large population of individuals with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.


Andrews, EB., Eaton, SC., Hollis, KA., Hopkins, JS., Ameen, VZ., Hamm, LR., ... Mangel, AW. (2005). Prevalence and demographics of irritable bowel syndrome: results from a large web-based survey. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 22(10), 935-942. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2005.02671.x