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Chronic GI Troubles Keep Workers Off the Job

They lose one day a week on average, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- People with some common functional gastrointestinal disorders lose the equivalent of at least one full day of work in every 40-hour workweek, a new U.S. study finds.

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, which are associated with impaired quality of life, are among the most common causes of workplace-related absenteeism. These conditions also play a role in "presenteeism" -- when people go to work but are less productive than normal.

For the study, patients filled out numerous questionnaires over one year. People with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), chronic constipation (CC) alone, or functional dyspepsia (FD) lost 10.3 hours of work per week, while those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) lost about 6.3 hours per week.

Patients with IBS-C, chronic constipation and functional dyspepsia (chronic or recurrent pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, including feeling full earlier than expected when eating, sometimes accompanied by bloating, belching, nausea or heartburn) also scored higher on a scale measuring impairment/productivity loss than GERD patients.

"This research demonstrates the significant economic impact of these common conditions," study author Dr. G. Richard Locke, of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, said in a prepared statement. He conducted the research along with co-investigators from drug maker Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

The findings were slated for presentation Monday at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting in Philadelphia.

More information

The American College of Gastroenterology has more about common GI problems.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American College of Gastroenterology, news release, Oct. 15, 2007

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