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Every year, the month of April is observed as “Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month”. Sponsored by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (IFFGD, a non- profit organization), the event aims to generate widespread awareness about IBS – one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders that primarily affects the large intestine. The 2019 campaign encourages people who have symptoms of IBS to seek medical advice. It encourages people to talk more about IBS and reduce the stigma associated with this condition. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (also known as irritable bowel disease) is a chronic condition that causes abdominal pain, bloating, mucous in stools, irregular bowel habits, and alternating diarrhea and constipation. As there is no known cure for this condition, complementary health practices combined with medications and correct diet can help control these symptoms in the long-run. Gastroenterologists or other specialists treating IBS patients can rely on medical billing outsourcing companies to report IBS diagnosis and screening accurately.

According to reports, irritable bowel syndrome is expected to affect about 45 million people in the United States (2018 statistics). It is estimated that women are almost twice as likely to develop this condition as men and the onset is usually before the age of 35 years (in almost half of the cases). The precise cause of IBS isn’t known. However, certain factors like bacterial infections in the digestive tract, muscle contractions in the intestine, food intolerances/sensitivities, changes in bacteria in the gut (microflora) and hormonal changes are expected to play an active role. In some cases, a person’s mental and emotional state may also have an impact.

There is no specific test to definitely diagnose IBS. Initial diagnosis will generally begin with a medical history evaluation, physical evaluation and other tests to rule out other conditions. Diagnostic imaging studies such as flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, X-rays and CT scans will also be performed as part of the diagnosis. In addition, laboratory tests like lactose intolerance tests, upper endoscopy, stool tests and breath test for analyzing the level of bacterial growth or infections within the intestine will also be performed.

The diagnosis and other screening tests performed by gastroenterologists and other specialists need to be documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services offered by reliable medical billing companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their billing purposes. ICD-10 codes for IBS include –

  • K58 – Irritable bowel syndrome
    • K58.0 – Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea
    • K58.1 – Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation
    • K58.2 – Mixed irritable bowel syndrome
    • K58.8 – Other irritable bowel syndrome
    • K58.9 – Irritable bowel syndrome without diarrhea

The month of April was first designated as “Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month” in the year 1997 by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (IFFGD). “Don’t Suffer in Silence” is a common theme used throughout this monthly campaign wherein the prime focus is on important health messages about IBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.  The awareness color for irritable bowel syndrome is “Periwinkle”.

As part of the monthly event, individuals, healthcare centers, health professionals and community groups across the nation will host a wide range of programs including health promotion events, sharing links via several social media platforms (like Facebook and Twitter), posting flyers at certain local venues in one’s community and publishing advocacy letter in local newspapers in order to generate awareness about the symptoms and other risk factors associated with the condition. More information about the IBS awareness event can be downloaded from the IFFGD website.

Join Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month celebration in April! Generate awareness about this chronic bowel disorder and its related symptoms and treatment options.