Prevalence of Rome IV Functional Bowel Disorders Among Adults in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom

Olafur S. Palsson, William Whitehead, Hans Törnblom, Ami D. Sperber, Magnus Simren

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    138 Scopus citations


    Background & Aims: Little is known about the population prevalence or demographic distributions of Rome IV functional bowel disorders (FBDs) or their effects on quality of life. We examined these in a multinational survey. Methods: We analyzed data from a population-based survey of adults in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom (5931 valid responders; 49.2% female; mean age, 47.4 years; range, 18–92 years). The survey included the Rome IV Diagnostic Questionnaire, Rome III irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation questions, and the SF-8 quality of life questionnaire. Results: The prevalence values of census-adjusted Rome IV FBDs were similar among the 3 countries; ranges were: 4.4%–4.8% for IBS, 7.9%–8.6% for functional constipation, 3.6%–5.3% for functional diarrhea, 2.0%–3.9% for functional bloating or distention, 1.1%–1.9% for opioid-induced constipation, 7.5%–10.0% for unspecified FBDs, and 28.6%–31.7% for any Rome IV FBD. FBDs were less common in older individuals, and all except functional diarrhea were more common in women. IBS was only half as prevalent by Rome IV as by Rome III criteria (4.6% vs 9.0% overall), primarily due to higher Rome IV minimum pain frequency. Functional diarrhea and functional constipation were more prevalent by Rome IV than Rome III criteria. Subjects with FBD had significant reductions in quality of life and reported more gastrointestinal doctor consultations than other subjects. Conclusions: More than 1 in 4 adults in the general population meet the Rome IV criteria for FBDs. These disorders affect quality of life and increase use of gastrointestinal health care. The switch from Rome III to Rome IV criteria reduces the prevalence of IBS by half, but increases the prevalence of functional constipation and functional diarrhea.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1262-1273.e3
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020


    • Abdominal Pain
    • Epidemiology
    • Europe
    • GI Disorder

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Hepatology
    • Gastroenterology


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