Abdominal Pain, Bloating, and Diarrheain the United States:
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The prevalence and impact of abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea in the adult US population are largely unknown. We conducted a national, cross-sectional, telephone survey of US households to provide estimates of the frequency, duration, severity, and impact of specific digestive symptoms during the previous month. A total of 2510 subjects completed interviews (70.7% response rate). Among the respondents, 1017 (40.5%) reported one or more digestive symptoms within the month before the interview, including abdominal pain or discomfort 21.8%, bloating or distension 15.9%, and diarrhea or loose stools 26.9%. Women were more likely than men to report abdominal pain or discomfort (24.4% vs 17.5%) and bloating or distension (19.2% vs 10.5%), but not diarrhea or loose stools (27.1% vs 26.7%). Symptoms were less common among those ≥60 years of age. More than 65% of respondents rated symptoms as moderate or severe in intensity, and the majority reported limitations in daily activities. We conclude that digestive symptoms are more common than previously recognized and have a significant impact.
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