Many adults unaware of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

One in five U.S. adults may be tolerating gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and not seeking care, according to a survey released by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA).

The survey was conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of the AGA from Sept. 17 to 19, 2021, and included 1,011 respondents from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.

According to the results of the survey, nearly half of respondents (49 percent) experienced GI symptoms that impacted their daily life and activities within the previous year. Yet more than half (53 percent) said GI disorders never came up during a doctor’s appointment. More than one-third of participants with GI symptoms (37 percent) did not seek care for their symptoms if they did not affect their daily life. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of participants (79 percent) had never heard of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). One-quarter of respondents said they would not be concerned enough with symptoms of bloody stools, stomach pain or tenderness, unintended weight loss, foul-smelling oily stools, diarrhea, gas, or bloating to talk to their health care provider.

“This data brings to light that we have a tremendous opportunity to improve the quality of life for many Americans,” Phil Hart, M.D., AGA Exposing EPI campaign chair, said in a statement. “All it takes is one conversation between patient and provider to start the process of treatment and alleviating discomfort for those suffering with GI symptoms.”