Implications for IBS beyond the individual

IBS has a substantial effect on quality of life, which might be greatest in those with predominant diarrhea (IBS-D), for whom the fear of incontinence in a social situation can be especially debilitating. Patients with IBS with predominant diarrhea report more avoidance of places without bathrooms and a reluctance to leave home, whereas individuals with IBS with predominant constipation (IBS-​C) are more likely to report avoiding sex, difficulty concentrating and feeling self-​conscious. The effects of IBS symptoms on work, including loss of earnings, socializing and the ability to travel, also have a negative effect. Overall, patients with IBS report feeling a loss of freedom and spontaneity, they feel burdened by the unpredictability of their symptoms, and some can feel stigmatized by family, friends and physicians, who might struggle to understand the effects on their life.

Patients with IBS often find it difficult to work due to their symptoms. Accordingly, they might take time off, referred to as absenteeism, or instead report that, although at work, they struggle to perform at their best.

Finally, the effect on families of those with IBS is relatively unknown. It has been suggested that the partners of patients with IBS were under significantly more strain and it is conceivable that these effects have implications for the health and economic contribution of partners.

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