The prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome-type symptoms in paediatric inflammatory bowel disease, and the relationship with biochemical markers of disease activity.Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2016; 44(2):181-8AP
A large proportion (25-46%) of adults with inflammatory bowel disease in remission has symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which are thought to reflect ongoing inflammation. Data on paediatric inflammatory bowel disease patients are lacking.
To investigate (i) the prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in paediatric inflammatory bowel disease patients in remission and (ii) the relationship of IBS-type symptoms with biochemical markers of disease activity.
This cross-sectional study included all patients (<18 years) with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis attending the out-patient clinic of one of three Dutch hospitals between March 2014 and June 2015. Clinical disease activity was determined using the abbreviated-PCDAI or PUCAI. Biochemical disease activity was assessed using faecal calprotectin and serum CRP. IBS-symptoms were assessed using physician-administered Rome III-questionnaires.
We included 184 patients (92 female; mean age: 14.5 years) (Crohn's disease: 123, ulcerative colitis: 61). The prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in children with inflammatory bowel disease in clinical remission was 6.4% (95% CI: 2.5-11.1%; Crohn's disease: 4.5%; ulcerative colitis: 10.8%). Prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in children with faecal calprotectin <250 μg/g was 16.1% (95% CI: 7.6-25.8%; Crohn's disease: 16.7%; ulcerative colitis: 10.8%). No difference in faecal calprotectin or CRP was found between patients in clinical remission with or without IBS-type symptoms (faecal calprotectin: IBS+ median 58 μg/g, IBS- 221 μg/g, P = 0.12; CRP: IBS+ median 1.4 mg/L, IBS- 1.1 mg/L, P = 0.63).
The prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in children with inflammatory bowel disease is highly dependent on the definition of remission. Nonetheless, the prevalence is much lower than that previously reported in studies in adult inflammatory bowel disease patients. IBS-type symptoms appear to be unrelated to gastrointestinal inflammation.