Original Research

Irritable bowel syndrome: towards an integrated approach

Anita D Stuart, H Gertie Pretorius, Lynette van der Merwe
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 4, No 1 | a12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v4i1.12 | © 1999 Anita D Stuart, H Gertie Pretorius, Lynette van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 October 1999 | Published: 22 October 1999

About the author(s)

Anita D Stuart, Rand Afrikaans University, South Africa
H Gertie Pretorius, Rand Afrikaans University, South Africa
Lynette van der Merwe, Rand Afrikaans University, South Africa

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Abstract

Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders are defined as chronic or recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms characterized by abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhoea (Tally, 1994; University of North Carolina, 1998). These disorders are of concern because of their high incidence, associated morbidity, expense and the impact of these disorders on people's quality of life. Drossman (1993, in University of North Carolina (UNC), 1998) found that of 5 400 U.S. households, 69% of people met the criteria for at least one of the functional gastrointestinal disorders which represents a 59% increase in the incidence of functional gastrointestinal disorders since 1983 (Drossman, in UNC, 1998; Drossman, 1983). In particular, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) sufferers account for 2,4 - 3,5 million visits to doctors annually. Furthermore, IBS sufferers spend $40 million annually on treatment for their condition. They also tend to have 3 to 4 times more disability days than other workers, which illustrates the debilitating effect of this disorder (Drossman, in UNC, 1998). It is therefore necessary that the etiology of IBS be researched, as well as the course and management of this debilitating disease. The studies presented in this series aimed to improve the understanding of the multiple agents that influence the development and course of IBS.

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