Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common problem known to have a complex relationship with psychological disorders and other physical symptoms.
Little information, however, is available concerning physical and psychological comorbidity IBS patients studied over an extended period.
Professor Jones evaluated physical and psychological morbidity 2 years before and during 6 years after the time of diagnosis in IBS.
A matched cohort study was implemented in 123 general practices using the General Practice Research Database.
The research team compared 1827 IBS patients to 3654 controls.
|Depression remained prevalent up to 6 years after diagnosis|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The age-standardized incidence of IBS in patients over 15 years of age was 2 per 1000 in men and 6 per 1000 in women.
The team found that from 2 years before the date of diagnosis, more IBS cases than controls consulted with depression or were prescribed antidepressant drugs.
Consultation and prescription rates for anxiety were also higher before diagnosis, and both anxiety and depression remained prevalent up to 6 years after diagnosis.
The researchers noted that asthma, symptoms of urinary tract infection, gall-bladder surgery, hysterectomy and diverticular disease were recorded more frequently in IBS patients.
IBS patients were also more likely than controls to be referred to hospital.
Professor Jones concluded, “People who are diagnosed with IBS experience more anxiety and depression and a range of physical problems, compared with controls; they are more likely to be referred to hospital.”