How to Help Your Patients

Understanding the science and the symptoms to enable optimal care.

Explore the Patient Perspective

IBS-D is a chronic disease.1,2 Many individuals who suffer from IBS reported symptoms that have continued for more than 10 years, and nearly three-fourths of sufferers reported minimal or no improvement over the course of their disease.3

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Patients with IBS, including those with IBS-D,* reported3:

  • An average of 2.4 episodes on a day with symptoms (designated as a “suffering day”)
  • Episodes lasting more than 1 hour for >50% of sufferers
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More than 50% of patients with IBS-D* specifically reported4:

  • Frequent bowel movements ≥4 days per week
  • Only a few days at a time without symptoms

The most common emotion expressed by individuals about their IBS symptoms was frustration, cited by nearly three-quarters of respondents to an IBS survey by the American Gastroenterological Association. Close to half stated they feel self-conscious. Individuals with IBS also reported feeling embarrassed, fed up, and/or depressed. 4

Living with IBS-D can have a substantial impact—with patients twice as likely to spend a day in bed or cut back on normal activities compared with non-IBS sufferers.3,4 Patients may cancel social engagements; miss work or school; forgo long car rides, travel, and vacations; and may need to avoid certain foods and eating at restaurants.3-5 Many patients feel they need to be near a toilet or make frequent trips to the toilet.3-5 This frustration can lead to feelings of helplessness and poor self-image; as a result, patients with IBS may become socially isolated.5

How You Can Help Patients With IBS-D

People with IBS are often frustrated by their symptoms and the lack of effective treatments and management strategies.4,5 Although there is currently no cure for IBS,6 an effective relationship between patients and their healthcare practitioners can increase treatment satisfaction and is an important part of patient management.1,5,7,8

Because IBS-D presents as a complex of symptoms with a wide range of pathophysiological causes, treatment represents a challenge for both healthcare professional and patient. At present, there is no standard treatment algorithm for IBS-D; therapeutic options are individualized to focus on alleviating symptoms.11

Understand the Causes

Learn more about the science behind the symptoms to better help your patients.

Get a Closer Look
Treatment Options

Click below to learn about a treatment option that may be beneficial for your patients with IBS-D.

Learn More
References +


  • Lacy BE, Moreau JC. Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: diagnosis, etiology, and new treatment considerations. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2016;28(7):393-404.
  • Chey WD, Kurlander J, Eswaran S. Irritable bowel syndrome: a clinical review. JAMA. 2015;313(9):949-958.
  • Hungin APS, Chang L, Locke GR, Dennis EH, Barghout V. Irritable bowel syndrome in the United States: prevalence, symptom patterns and impact. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005;21(11):1365-1375.
  • American Gastroenterological Association. IBS in America: Survey Summary Findings. December 2015. Accessed March 19, 2018.
  • Halpert A. Irritable bowel syndrome: patient-provider interaction and patient education. J Clin Med. 2018;7(1):3. doi:10.3390/jcm7010003.
  • Cong X, Perry M, Bernier KM, Young EE, Starkweather A. Effects of self-management interventions in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review. West J Nurs Res. 2017;Aug 1:193945917727705. doi: 10.1177/0193945917727705.
  • Ford AC, Lacy BE, Talley NJ. Irritable bowel syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(26):2566-2578.
  • Jayaraman T, Wong RK, Drossman DA, Lee YY. Communication breakdown between physicians and IBS sufferers: what is the conundrum and how to overcome it? J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 2017;47(2):138-141.
  • Lacy BE, Mearin F, Chang L, et al. Bowel disorders. Gastroenterology. 2016;150(6):1393-1407.
  • Lovell RM, Ford AC. Global prevalence of and risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012;10(7):712-721.
  • Camilleri M, Ford AC. Irritable bowel syndrome: pathophysiology and current therapeutic approaches. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2017;239:75-113.
  • Lucak S, Chang, L, Halpert A, Harris LA. Current and emergent pharmacologic treatments for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea: evidence-based treatment in practice. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2017;10(2):253-275.
  • Cash BD, Chey WD. Irritable bowel syndrome – an evidence-based approach to diagnosis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004;19(12):1235-1245.
  • American College of Gastroenterology Task Force on IBS. An evidence-based systematic review on the management of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(1):S1-S35.
Bristol Stool Form Scale5
  • Type 1
    Bristol Stool Form Scale
    Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)
  • Type 2
    Bristol Stool Form Scale
    Sausage-shaped but lumpy
  • Type 3
    Bristol Stool Form Scale
    Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
  • Type 4
    Bristol Stool Form Scale
    Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
  • Type 5
    Bristol Stool Form Scale
    Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (passed easily)
  • Type 6
    Bristol Stool Form Scale
    Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
  • Type 7
    Bristol Stool Form Scale
    Watery, no solid pieces; entirely liquid
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