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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 51-55

Frequency of irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis made by consultant physicians in Nigeria

1 Department of Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria
2 APIN Plus, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E I Agaba
Department of Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background/ aim: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Despite the high prevalence of this disease, it is not known how frequently this diagnosis is made by physicians in Nigeria. The purpose of the study was to determine the frequency with which the diagnosis of IBS is made by physicians in Nigeria and the symptoms used. Methods: Self-administered questionnaires addressing frequency of IBS diagnosis and the symptoms used were distributed to consultant physicians attending a meeting of the West African College of Physicians, Nigeria chapter. Results: Fifty (50) questionnaires were distributed with 43 physicians (38 males and five females) returning completed forms giving a response rate of 86%. A total of 30 physicians (69.8%) had ever made a diagnosis of IBS. Of these, 25 (83.3%) make the diagnosis of IBS “rarely”; four (13.3%) make the diagnosis “often enough” and only one (3.3%) make the diagnosis “commonly”. The symptom complexes of abdominal pain relieved by defecation, abdominal pain associated with diarrhoea and abdominal pain associated with constipation in the absence of any known cause that usually prompt the diagnosis of IBS were correctly indentified by 22 (51.2%), 32 (74.4% ) and 19 (44.2%) physicians respectively . Conclusion: This study demonstrates the rarity with which the diagnosis of IBS is made by physicians as a result of the low index of suspicion for this condition. There is the need for continuing medical education as this is likely to increase physician awareness of this illness.

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