Leading Physician Expert: Gastrointestinal Disorders are a National Health Crisis and it's Time to Reset How We Diagnose and Treat Them
Findings based on 35 years of research will be presented in new book Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI) and the Patient-Doctor Relationship, now available for pre-order
Oct 21, 2020, 11:40 ET
CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Oct. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 61 percent1 of Americans are afflicted with gastrointestinal symptoms ranging from upset stomach and diarrhea to bloating and abdominal pain. Millions of these patients are misdiagnosed, untreated, and frustrated by lack of medical insight into their condition, according to one of the world's leading gastroenterology experts. Dr. Douglas Drossman, an award-winning gastroenterology researcher and treatment innovator, says GI illnesses – especially disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI) – have become a national health crisis and he is calling for a reset of the patient-doctor relationship in discussing, diagnosing, and treating these complex conditions.
"Gastrointestinal disorders have a debilitating impact on one's quality of life. Living in discomfort with chronic bloating, abdominal pain and bowel difficulties is a reality for millions of Americans and struggling to receive a proper diagnosis is emotionally exhausting, frustrating and time consuming. This has become a national health crisis and it's time to make addressing it a priority," said Dr. Drossman, who has dedicated his medical career in gastroenterology and psychiatry to understand and treat these disorders and to teach doctors how to communicate better about them with their patients.
A recent study2 in the BMJ Quality & Safety Journal showed that over 12 million patients in the U.S. are misdiagnosed in outpatient care settings every year. These misdiagnoses, particularly for gastrointestinal disorders, often cause long-term physical and mental complications, can weaken one's immune health, and can even lead to other serious health conditions.
"Forty percent3 of Americans suffer from DGBIs that present as a collection of symptoms not diagnosable through current testing methods. The negative test result can lead to a lack of understanding of the reasons for the symptoms, and does not capture a patient's illness experience, leaving many doctors just as frustrated as patients seeking answers," said Dr. Drossman. "Being given a diagnosis of a DGBI and resetting the patient-doctor relationship on these common disorders – including knowing how to present one's symptoms, questions to ask, and treatments to consider – will help us better diagnose, understand, and treat DGBIs."
Dr. Drossman has partnered with renowned patient advocate, Johannah Ruddy, M.Ed., for a new book that represents the culmination of 35 years of research into GI disorders, the gut-brain connection, and how patients and doctors can have a more productive dialogue on this health issue. Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI) and the Patient-Doctor Relationship is now available for pre-order ahead of its December release.
Ruddy details her personal experience in the book as a patient seeking diagnosis for several years from numerous physicians, 'I couldn't bear to hear that I had 'mystery' symptoms or that I was 'exaggerating.' I believed that my doctors were saying, 'We don't know what else to tell you, and we don't see any legitimate reason for your symptoms, so this is the best we can do. We don't want to really understand how this is affecting your life. So, please, stop coming; figure it out on your own.'
"I went through this for years, and I know how frustrating it is to feel unheard in the doctor's office, along with the shame that comes with these symptoms and a diagnosis that made me feel like it was all in my head. Working with Dr. Drossman, I learned how to communicate better with my doctor and that made all the difference for me. This is the knowledge we are sharing in the book," said Ruddy.
Dr. Drossman, founder of the Rome Foundation, is trained in gastroenterology and psychiatry, and has dedicated over 35 years to treating GI disorders and researching the interaction between gut and brain health. The brain and gut are known to communicate with each other through nerve signals, hormones and the microbiome4, and research5 shows that gut health impacts other key health areas like immune health, mood and mental health. He has also developed communication skills programs to improve the patient-doctor relationship.
Ruddy built her career as a patient advocate engaging with clinicians and patients to help them connect and understand the value of the patient-provider relationship to improve outcomes. She is a national expert, researcher and writer on teaching communications skills to patients and providers.
Gut Feelings will explore the physician and patient perspectives of this diagnosis process and raise awareness of the emotional toll these decisions have on patients. The book will include a wealth of information on GI disorders and analysis of numerous clinical studies on this topic in addition to tips for both doctors and patients to build more productive conversation about diagnoses and treatment plans.
About Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction and the Patient-Doctor Relationship
Authored by Douglas Drossman, MD, an award-winning gastroenterology and psychiatric researcher, and Johannah Ruddy, M.Ed., a national patient advocate expert, Gut Feelings will serve as a guide for patients and doctors to diagnose, treat and communicate more effectively about disorders of Gut-Brain interaction. Gut Feelings is a culmination of decades of learnings in the gastroenterology space and analyzes the perspectives of both doctors and patients seeking diagnosis for their condition. Gut Feelings is published by DrossmanCare in collaboration with the Rome Foundation. Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction and the Patient-Doctor Relationship is now available for pre-sale at DrossmanCare.com and will be released this December.
1 The American Journal of Gastroenterology: Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in the General Population of the United States
2 DocPanel: How Common is Misdiagnosis: Infographic
3 Gastroenterology, Worldwide Prevalence and Burden of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Results of Global Rome Foundation Study, Drossman, et al. 2020
4 Duke Integrative Medicine: Understanding the Basics of the Gut-Brain Connection
5 Healthline: What's an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You
SOURCE Gut Feelings
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