Impact of upper digestive symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006; 18(12):1271-7EJ
Functional digestive disorders constitute a sizable proportion of gastroenterology and primary healthcare consultations, and have a negative impact on health-related quality of life. Dyspepsia and heartburn are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); however, the incidence of these symptoms and their effect on IBS patients have not been evaluated.
To investigate the clinical, psychological and health-related quality of life impact of upper digestive symptoms on IBS patients.
A prospective, observational, multicentered study was conducted in Spain: 517 IBS patients (Rome II criteria), grouped according to predominant symptoms of constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D) or alternating bowel habit (IBS-A) and 84 controls without IBS were recruited. Upper digestive symptoms were recorded in a 30-day diary. Health-related quality of life was evaluated by Irritable Bowel Syndrome Quality of Life and Euro-Quality of Life Five-Dimension Questionnaires; psychological well-being was evaluated by the Psychological General Well-Being Index.
IBS patients had greater frequencies of upper digestive symptoms (72.3 vs. 6.0%), dyspepsia (21.1 vs. 4.8%) and heartburn (40.0 vs. 13.1%) (all P < 0.05) than controls. Prevalence of upper digestive symptoms was lower in patients with IBS-D than in those with IBS-C or IBS-A (P < 0.05). Health-related quality of life and psychological status were significantly worse in IBS patients with upper digestive symptoms than in those without.
Upper digestive symptoms, frequently present in IBS patients, impair health-related quality of life and psychological status. This effect is greater in patients with IBS-C and IBS-A than in those with IBS-D. These data emphasize the importance of evaluating the presence of upper digestive symptoms in IBS patients.