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Mental and physical comorbidities increase the severity of symptoms in IBS

Type, rather than number, of mental and physical comorbidities increases the severity of symptoms in patients with IBS, reports the latest Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

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Irritable bowel syndrome has significant mental and physical comorbidities.

However, little is known about the day-to-day burden these comorbidities place on quality of life, physical and mental function, distress, and symptoms of patients.

Dr Jeffrey Lackner and colleagues from New York, USA collected cross-sectional data from 175 patients with irritable bowel syndrome, which was diagnosed on the basis of Rome III criteria, who were referred to 2 specialty care clinics.

Patients completed psychiatric interviews, a physical comorbidity checklist, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptom Severity Scale, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Quality of Life Instrument, the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Abdominal Pain Intensity scale, and the Short Form-12 Health Survey.

Patients with IBS reported an average of 5 comorbidities
Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome reported an average of 5 comorbidities.

The doctors found that subjects with more comorbidities reported worse quality of life after adjusting for confounding variables.

The research team indicated that comorbidity type was more consistently and strongly associated with illness burden indicators than disease counts.

Of 10,296 possible physical-mental comorbidity pairs, 6 of the 10 most frequent dyads involved specific conditions.

The team observed that these combinations were consistently associated with greater illness and symptom burdens, quality of life, mental and physical function, distress, more severe symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome, and pain.

Dr Lackner's team concludes, "Comorbidities are common among patients with Irritable bowel syndrome."

"They are associated with distress and reduced quality of life."

"Specific comorbidities are associated with more severe symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome."

Clin Gastroenterol and Hepatol 2013: 11(9): 1147-1157
13 September 2013

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