Joel HeidelbaughJoel J. Heidelbaugh, MD, FACG Shares Key Findings from Research Published Online Early in the Red Journal,”The Spectrum of Constipation-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Idiopathic Constipation: US Survey Assessing Symptoms, Care Seeking, and Disease Burden,” including how this survey’s finding’s may impact the way IBS-C and CIC are approached and managed.

ACG: Explain the significance of your findings in terms of the burden of IBS-C and CIC on patients?

Dr. Heidelbaugh: Patients with CIC and abdominal symptoms experience greater disease burden and bothersomeness compared those patients with CIC without frequent abdominal symptoms, yet have a similar disease burden to patients with IBS-C.

 ACG: What’s new here and important for clinicians?

Dr. Heidelbaugh: The data in this study bring in to question the current ROME III construct of classifying IBS-C and CIC as separate and distinct disorders, as the data suggest that the two conditions lie along a spectrum of disease where the presence of abdominal symptoms reflects severity rather than splitting these into two separate disorders.

 ACG: What do patients need to know?

Dr. Heidelbaugh: Patients need to know that while their constipation symptoms may be classified as either IBS-C or CIC, that either disorder is a REAL disorder with substantial overlap that has significant likelihood of bothersomeness and negative impact on their quality of life, and that bona fide treatment options do exist to minimize their symptoms and improve their well-being.

ACG: How do you think this survey will impact the way IBS-C and CIC approached and managed?

Dr. Heidelbaugh: Primary care clinicians will now better understand how to classify and define IBS-C and CIC, while recognizing a degree of overlap in classification based upon abdominal symptoms, and will understand their substantial negative impact on quality of life.

About Dr. Heidelbaugh

Dr. Heidelbaugh is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Urology at the University of Michigan Medical School and has served on the faculty since graduating from his residency in 1999. He is the medical student clerkship director in the Department of Family Medicine and is active in medical student education initiatives and curriculum development at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Access the full article in the Advanced Online Publication (March 17, 2015) section of The American Journal of Gastroenterology website.

Related materials

ACG Monograph on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Idiopathic Constipation, AJG August 2014