Patient knowledge and educational needs in irritable bowel syndrome

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ObjectiveEducating patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) about their disorder may promote a strong physician - patient interaction, is a recommended approach for treating mild IBS and may reduce healthcare use. Our aim was to identify the information needs, levels and associated factors in IBS, and to contrast this with patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).DesignSeventy adult IBS patients (Rome criteria) were prospectively recruited, together with 82 ulcerative colitis (UC) and 60 Crohn's disease (CD) patients. Demographic data, clinical data, and anxiety and depression scores (HAD scale) were recorded. Patients rated their perceived levels of disease knowledge and satisfaction with their knowledge level on visual analogue scales. Qualitative data on disease information needs were obtained by an open-ended question.SettingGastroenterology out-patient clinic.ResultsThe majority of IBS patients (77%;n= 54) and over half of IBD patients (56%;n= 79) required further information about their disease. The primary issues for IBS patients were bowel cancer risk and diet. Queries about medications ranked top for UC, while prognosis and cancer risk jointly ranked top for CD. In the IBS group, 27% rated their knowledge as < 25 out of 100 compared to 10% of IBD patients. The perceived level of knowledge in IBS was significantly negatively associated with length of hospital consulting (rs = −0.32;P= 0.04).ConclusionMost IBS patients feel insufficiently informed, particularly in relation to risk of serious disease and role of diet. Educating IBS patients about their disorder may play a role in reducing healthcare use.Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol12:39-43 © 2000 Lippincott Williams & WilkinsEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2000, 12:39-43

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