In 2002 we contacted a random sample from our IFFGD database of U.S. adults diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and conducted telephone interviews. A total of 350 respondents who reported having an IBS diagnosis participated. While we recognize the results of the survey may not be generalizable to persons with IBS who have milder symptoms, nevertheless, the information from the respondents speaks for itself in communicating the tremendous burden IBS can impose upon a large proportion of sufferers.

Constipation-specific symptoms were varied and frequent. Among respondents who suffer from constipation, straining when having a bowel movement and hard or lumpy stools were the symptoms most often reported.

When asked about their most bothersome symptoms, approximately one-quarter of constipation sufferers reported abdominal pain, straining, infrequent stools, bloating and/or gas.

Episodes of gas, bloating and abdominal pain were each described by constipation sufferers as occurring with an average frequency of over 200 times a year.

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