Gastrointestinal (GI)-specific anxiety has been proposed to influence symptom severity and quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The Visceral Sensitivity Index is a recently developed, reliable and valid measure of gastrointestinal-specific anxiety.
Dr Magnus Simrén and colleagues from Sweden evaluated the association between gastrointestinal-specific anxiety, GI symptom severity, and quality of life in IBS patients.
The team evaluated 60 healthy subjects and 306 patients fulfilling the Rome II criteria for IBS.
Demographic and disease-related factors were assessed.
Patients completed Visceral Sensitivity Index and Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) and questionnaires to determine psychological symptom severity, quality of life, and presence of functional GI disorders.
|Gender was a predictor for GI-symptom severity|
|Neurogastroenterology & Motility|
Compared with healthy subjects, patients with IBS had more severe gastrointestinal-specific anxiety.
In the IBS group, the team observed more severe gastrointestinal-specific anxiety in patients with more severe gastrointestinal symptoms, general anxiety, depression, and with lower socioeconomic status.
In a regression analysis, gastrointestinal-specific anxiety was the strongest predictor for gastrointestinal symptom severity, followed by number of Rome II diagnoses, presence of meal-related IBS symptoms, and gender.
The team found that gastrointestinal-specific anxiety was also, together with general anxiety, depression, socioeconomic status, and gender, independently associated with mental quality of life.
Dr Simrén's team commented, "Gastrointestinal-specific anxiety seems to be an important factor for gastrointestinal symptom severity and quality of life in patients with IBS."