To the editor: In his editorial note in the March 1979 issue, Drossman (1) draws attention to our study (2) in which certain symptoms were found to be more characteristic of the irritable bowel syndrome than of organic disease. We have since surveyed 301 apparently healthy people in an attempt to ascertain the prevalence of functional gut symptoms (3). We found that 13.6% had symptoms characteristic of the irritable bowel, 7% had dyspepsia, 6% had constipation (frequent straining at stool), and 3.7% had painless diarrhoea. Thus, 30% suffered functional abdominal gastrointestinal symptoms.
Only 20% of these patients had seen a