Patients with irritable bowel syndrome are more likely to suffer from conditions such as migraine or depression than other individuals. A study published today in BMC Gastroenterology shows that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are 60% more likely to suffer from depression, migraine or chronic pain than individuals who do not suffer from IBS. A link between IBS and depression, migraine or chronic pain had been suggested by case reports but had never been confirmed by such a large, controlled study.
In the largest study of its kind, J. Alexander Cole and colleagues from Boston University, Boston, USA, looked at the occurrence of depression, migraine and fibromyalgia (chronic, widespread and unexplained pain) in 97,593 individuals who had consulted a doctor because of IBS, at least once between 1996 and 2002. A group of 27,402 people who did not suffer from IBS acted as the comparison group. Cole et al. took into account the many variables and confounding factors that could have skewed their data in their analysis.
Cole et al.'s study shows that individuals who reported symptoms of IBS were 40% more likely to suffer from depression and 60% more likely to suffer from migraine. The occurrence of fibromyalgia was 1.8 times greater in individuals with IBS than in control individuals.
Migraine, Fibromyalgia, and Depression Among People With IBS: A Prevalence Study J. Alexander Cole, Kenneth J Rothman, Howard J Cabral, Yuqing Zhang and Francis A Farraye
BMC Gastroenterology 2006, in press