Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) report lower health-related quality of life as compared to healthy controls.
Dr Margaret Heitkemper and colleagues
described which IBS symptoms were rated on a daily diary as most distressing/severe by IBS women.
The research team determined which IBS symptoms were most predictive of lower quality of life, and have the greatest impact on daily life.
The team conducted a secondary analysis of prospective and retrospective symptom severity and impact data.
Data was collected on 242 women with IBS, aged 18 to 48, who were studied between 1997 and 2004.
|Minimal intestinal gas occurred on 74% of days|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
On the daily diary, the team noted that intestinal gas was the most frequent IBS symptom.
The researchers found that subjects reported at least minimal intestinal gas on 74% of days and moderate or worse severity on 27% of days.
The research team observed that abdominal pain occurred at least minimally on 62% of days, and diarrhea was the least common.
Across women, abdominal pain was most strongly related to life impact variables and quality of life, followed by intestinal gas and bloating.
Analysis of day-to-day variation within women showed that abdominal pain was most strongly correlated with daily life impact variables.
The team noted that constipation had the weakest correlation.
While diarrhea had a lower correlation with life impact, this was due to the low prevalence of diarrhea.
The researchers observed that when diarrhea occurs, it has a large impact.
Partial correlation analysis showed that the impact of diarrhea is independent of abdominal pain.
Dr Heitkemper's team concluded, “Abdominal pain is the most disruptive IBS symptom.”
“Diarrhea also has an independent and significant impact when it occurs, especially in those with diarrhea-predominant IBS.”