HealthDay News — A greater number of intestinal and brain function abnormalities increases the burden of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study recently published in Gastroenterology.

Magnus Simrén, MD, PhD, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed pathophysiologic alterations and patient-reported outcomes from three cohorts of patients with IBS (407 participants; 74% female; mean age, 36 years) seen at a Swedish specialized unit for functional gastrointestinal disorders from 2002 through 2014.

The researchers found that 36% of patients had allodynia, 22% had hyperalgesia, 18% had accelerated colonic transit, 7% had delayed transit, 52% had anxiety, and 24% had depression. Each of these conditions was associated with severity of at least one symptom of IBS. One in 5 patients had at least 3 pathophysiologic factors, while two factors were present in 30% and one factor was present in 31%. Eighteen percent of patients had no pathophysiologic factors. There was a gradual increase in IBS symptom severity and somatic symptom severity and a gradual reduction in quality of life with an increasing number of pathophysiologic abnormalities.

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“These factors have a cumulative effect on gastrointestinal and nongastrointestinal symptoms, as well as on quality of life, in patients with IBS and are therefore relevant treatment targets,” the authors write.

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