To review the evidence supporting selected complementary and alternative medicine approaches used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
QUALITY OF EVIDENCE
MEDLINE (from January 1966), EMBASE (from January 1980), and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched until March 2008, combining the terms irritable bowel syndrome or irritable colon with complementary therapies, alternative medicine, acupuncture, fiber, peppermint oil, herbal, traditional, yoga, massage, meditation, mind, relaxation, probiotic, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, or behavior therapy. Results were screened to include only clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Level I evidence was available for most interventions.
Soluble fibre improves constipation and global IBS symptoms. Peppermint oil alleviates IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain. Probiotic trials show overall benefit for IBS but there is little evidence supporting the use of any specific strain. Hypnotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy are also effective therapeutic options for appropriate patients. Certain herbal formulas are supported by limited evidence, but safety is a potential concern. All interventions are supported by systematic reviews or meta-analyses.
Several complementary and alternative therapies can be recommended as part of an evidence-based approach to the treatment of IBS; these might provide patients with satisfactory relief and improve the therapeutic alliance.
Adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) frequently experience interference with everyday activities. Mind-body approaches such as yoga have been recommended as interventions for patients with IBS. Despite promising results among adult samples, there have been limited studies exploring the efficacy of yoga with pediatric patients.
To conduct a preliminary randomized study of yoga as treatment for adolescents with IBS.
Twenty-five adolescents aged 11 to 18 years with IBS were randomly assigned to either a yoga or wait list control group. Before the intervention, both groups completed questionnaires assessing gastrointestinal symptoms, pain, functional disability, coping, anxiety and depression. The yoga intervention consisted of a 1 h instructional session, demonstration and practice, followed by four weeks of daily home practice guided by a video. After four weeks, adolescents repeated the baseline questionnaires. The wait list control group then received the yoga intervention and four weeks later completed an additional set of questionnaires.
Adolescents in the yoga group reported lower levels of functional disability, less use of emotion-focused avoidance and lower anxiety following the intervention than adolescents in the control group. When the pre- and postintervention data for the two groups were combined, adolescents had significantly lower scores for gastrointestinal symptoms and emotion-focused avoidance following the yoga intervention. Adolescents found the yoga to be helpful and indicated they would continue to use it to manage their IBS.
Yoga holds promise as an intervention for adolescents with IBS.
Adolescents; Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); Mind-body; Recurrent abdominal pain; Yoga
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by episodic abdominal pain or discomfort in association with altered bowel habits (diarrhea and/or constipation). Other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating and flatulence, are also common. A variety of factors are believed to play a role in the development of IBS symptoms, including altered bowel motility, visceral hypersensitivity, psychosocial stressors, altered brain-gut interactions, immune activation/low grade inflammation, alterations in the gut microbiome, and genetic factors. In the absence of biomarkers that can distinguish between IBS subgroups on the basis of pathophysiology, treatment of this condition is predicated upon a patient's most bothersome symptoms. In clinical trials, effective therapies have only offered a therapeutic gain over placebos of 7-15%. Evidence based therapies for the global symptoms of constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C) include lubiprostone and tegaserod; evidence based therapies for the global symptoms of diarrhea predominant IBS (IBS-D) include the probiotic Bifidobacter infantis, the nonabsorbable antibiotic rifaximin, and alosetron. Additionally, there is persuasive evidence to suggest that selected antispasmodics and antidepressants are of benefit for the treatment of abdominal pain in IBS patients. Finally, several emerging therapies with novel mechanisms of action are in development. Complementary and alternative medicine therapies including probiotics, herbal therapies and acupuncture are gaining popularity among IBS sufferers, although concerns regarding manufacturing standards and the paucity of high quality efficacy and safety data remain.
Serotonin; Chloride secretogogues; Antibiotics; Antidepressants; Probiotics
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is defined by the Rome III criteria as symptoms of recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort with the onset of a marked change in bowel habits with no evidence of an inflammatory, anatomic, metabolic, or neoplastic process. As such, many clinicians regard IBS as a central nervous system problem of altered pain perception. Here, we review the recent literature and discuss the evidence that supports an organic based model, which views IBS as a complex, heterogeneous, inter-dependent, and multi-variable inflammatory process along the neuronal-gut axis. We delineate the organic pathophysiology of IBS, demonstrate the role of inflammation in IBS, review the possible differences between adult and pediatric IBS, discuss the merits of a comprehensive treatment model as taught by the Institute of Functional Medicine, and describe the potential for future research for this syndrome.
Irritable bowel syndrome; Abdominal pain; Inflammation; Probiotics; Stress
The main mechanism underlying irritable bowel syndrome is currently believed to be a dysfunction of the brain-gut axis. Autonomic nervous system dysfunction can contribute to development of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms by disturbing visceral sensations.
Thirty patients with a diagnosis of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and 30 healthy volunteers were included in the study. Resting and functional autonomic nervous system tests and percutaneous electrogastrography were performed. Plasma adrenalin, noradrenalin, insulin, ghrelin and cholecystokinin activity was analyzed.
Increased sympathetic activation with disturbed parasympathetic function was demonstrated. Patients had substantially higher plasma catecholamine concentration, which confirms sympathetic overbalance. Hyperinsulinemia may explain sympathetic predominance followed by gastric and intestinal motility deceleration. Abnormal, reduced ghrelin and cholecystokinin titre may disturb brain-gut axis functioning and may be responsible for gastric motility deceleration. In electrogastrography, distinctly lower values of fasting normogastria percentage and dominant power were observed. Patients had substantially lower slow wave coupling percentage both in fasting and postprandial periods, which negatively correlated with plasma catecholamines level. Gastric myoelectrical activity disturbances may result from lack of sympatho-parasympathetic equilibrium.
Central sympathetic influence within the brain-gut axis is most probably responsible for myoelectrical activity disturbances in irritable bowel syndrome patients.
irritable bowel syndrome; autonomic nervous system activity; heart rate variability; gastric myoelectric activity; electrogastrography
Presacral tumours represent a heterogeneous group of predominantly benign and occasionally malignant neoplasms. These tumours, though rare, frequently present either incidentally or with vague symptoms. Schwannomas of the presacral region are one variant described as benign tumours of neurogenic origin. The case of a large presacral schwannoma in a 26-year-old man, who was treated for irritable bowel syndrome for 4 years, is presented. The patient presented with intermittent constipation, a feeling of incomplete evacuation of the bowel and vague abdominal discomfort relieved by defecation. The symptomatology worsened and constipation became frequent, and the patient experienced increased urinary frequency. Baseline investigations were normal and ultrasonography of the abdomen revealed a pelvic mass, which on CT scanning was revealed to be a large retrorectal mass. The tumour was resected and histology revealed it to be a schwannoma. This unique case is presented to emphasise that irritable bowel syndrome must be a diagnosis of exclusion, especially if atypical symptoms are present.
Individuals have increasingly sought complementary therapies to enhance health and well-being during cancer, although little evidence of their effect is available.
how an Iyengar yoga program affects the self-identified worst symptom in a group of participants. whether quality of life, spiritual well-being, and mood disturbance change over the Iyengar yoga program and at 6 weeks after the program. how, from a participant’s perspective, the Iyengar yoga program complements conventional cancer treatment.
Patients and Methods
This pre–post instrumental collective case study used a mixed methods design and was conducted at a private Iyengar yoga studio. The sample consisted of 24 volunteers (23 women, 1 man; 88% Caucasian; mean age: 49 years) who were currently on treatment or who had been treated for cancer within the previous 6 months, and who participated in ten 90-minute weekly Iyengar yoga classes.
The main outcome measures were most-bothersome symptom (Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile 2 instrument), quality of life and spiritual well-being (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–General subscale and Spiritual subscale), and mood disturbance (Profile of Mood States–Short Form). Participant perspectives were obtained in qualitative interviews.
Statistically significant improvements were reported in most-bothersome symptom (t(23) = 5.242; p < 0.001), quality of life (F(2,46) = 14.5; p < 0.001), spiritual well-being (F(2,46) = 14.4; p < 0.001), and mood disturbance (F(2,46) = 10.8; p < 0.001) during the program. At follow-up, quality of life (t(21) = −3.7; p = 0.001) and mood disturbance (t(21) = 2.4; p = 0.025) significantly improved over time. Categorical aggregation of the interview data showed that participants felt the program provided them with various benefits not included on the outcomes questionnaires.
Over the course of the Iyengar Yoga for Cancer program, participants reported an improvement in overall well-being. The program was also found to present participants with a holistic approach to care and to provide tools to effectively manage the demands of living with cancer and its treatment.
Iyengar yoga; cancer; complementary and alternative medicine; integrative oncology; mixed methodology
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) show decreased discomfort and pain thresholds to visceral stimuli, as well hypervigilance to gastrointestinal sensations, symptoms, and the context in which these visceral sensations and symptoms occur. Previous research demonstrated normalization of visceral hypersensitivity following repeated exposure to experimental rectal stimuli over a 12 month period that was associated with reduction in cortical regions functionally associated with attention and arousal. Building upon these functional analyses, multivariate functional and effective connectivity analyses were applied to [15O] water positron emission tomography (PET) data from 12 IBS patients (male=4) participating in a PET study before and after 4 visceral sensory testing sessions involving rectal balloon distensions over a 1 year period. First, behavioral partial least squares was applied to test for networks related to reduced subjective ratings observed following repeated application of an aversive rectal stimulus. Next, path analysis within a structural equation modeling framework tested the hypothesis that perceptual habituation to the repeated visceral stimuli resulted in part from the reduced connectivity within a selective attention to threat network over time. Two independent, perception-related networks comprised of interoceptive, attentional and arousal regions were engaged differentially during expectation and distension. In addition, changes in the effective connectivity of an attentional network as well as modulatory amygdala influence suggested that perceptual habituation associated with repeated stimulus delivery results both in an increase in top down modulation of attentional circuits, as well as in a reduction of amygdala-related interference with attentional mechanisms.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a highly prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder that causes a range of symptoms. Currently, alosetron hydrochloride (Lotronex®), a selective serotonin type 3 receptor antagonist, is the only medication approved for the treatment of severe diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) in women who have inadequately responded to conventional therapy. Alosetron has demonstrated efficacy compared with placebo in clinical trials and has been shown to improve overall health-related quality of life (HRQoL). However, rare instances of ischemic colitis and severe complications of constipation have been reported. As a result, in 2000 alosetron was voluntarily withdrawn from the market but was reintroduced in 2002 with a more restricted indication and a requirement that clinicians and patients follow a prescribing program. Although the efficacy and benefit of alosetron has been clearly demonstrated, it has been used sparingly since its reintroduction. This brief review describes the history of alosetron, efficacy of alosetron in the treatment of IBS, the impact of severe IBS on HRQoL, safety considerations, the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy program under which alosetron is now prescribed, and an update on postmarketing surveillance data.
Irritable bowel syndrome; diarrhea; 5-HT3 antagonist; alosetron
The objective of this study is to assess the findings of selected articles regarding the therapeutic effects of yoga and to provide a comprehensive review of the benefits of regular yoga practice. As participation rates in mind-body fitness programs such as yoga continue to increase, it is important for health care professionals to be informed about the nature of yoga and the evidence of its many therapeutic effects. Thus, this manuscript provides information regarding the therapeutic effects of yoga as it has been studied in various populations concerning a multitude of different ailments and conditions. Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions and involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional and spiritual pain, suffering or limitations. Results from this study show that yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.
Alternative therapy; depression; pain; quality of life; therapeutic yoga
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is considered to be a physical disorder that mainly affects the bowel and is clinically characterized by lower abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, constipation (or alternating diarrhea/constipation), gas, bloating, and nausea. According to recent studies, it appears that there is an association with increased prolactin levels in patients suffering from IBS. We report a rare case of regression of IBS symptoms (constipation type) in a 16-year-old female adolescent after receiving cabergoline for treating hyperprolactinemia due to pituitary macroadenoma. Our hypothesis is that increased prolactin levels, for instance due to a pituitary adenoma, may suppress prolactin-releasing peptide release and lead to a reverse feedback interaction, consequently resulting in oversecretion of cholecystokinin, inducing the development of IBS.
Prolactin; Cholecystokinin; Irritable bowel syndrome; Constipation
The pelvic floor is an integrated structure; dysfunctions may lead to a wide range of symptoms, involving voiding, defecation and sexual functioning (SF). Functional symptoms such as constipation and lower abdominal pain are often caused by pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), and they highly impact the quality of life. Multiple specialists are responsible for a specific part of the pelvic floor, but its treatment asks for a holistic approach. The authors are still unaware of gastroenterologists' knowledge on PFD or whether they are addressing pelvic floor complaints in their daily practice.
A 42-itemed anonymous questionnaire was mailed to all 402 members of the Dutch Society of Gastroenterology (gastroenterologists and residents-in-training).
169 (42%) questionnaires were analysed. Most gastroenterologists address lower urinary tract symptoms in their history-taking, 92% in female patients and 84% in male patients. When patients indicate irritable bowel syndrome-like complaints, more than 60% of the physicians inquire about SF to their female patients, compared with 38% inquiries to male patients (p<0.001). A reason not to inquire about SF is a lack of knowledge about female and male sexuality (19% and 23%, respectively). Forty-six per cent of the respondents regard it rather important to receive more training on PFD in male patients versus 61% in female patients.
Awareness of PFD is not yet routinely integrated into the history taken by gastroenterologists.
This randomised trial compared the effects of Brain Wave Vibration (BWV) training, which involves rhythmic yoga-like meditative exercises, with Iyengar yoga and Mindfulness. Iyengar provided a contrast for the physical components and mindfulness for the “mental” components of BWV. 35 healthy adults completed 10 75-minute classes of BWV, Iyengar, or Mindfulness over five weeks. Participants were assessed at pre- and postintervention for mood, sleep, mindfulness, absorption, health, memory, and salivary cortisol. Better overall mood and vitality followed both BWV and Iyengar training, while the BWV group alone had improved depression and sleep latency. Mindfulness produced a comparatively greater increase in absorption. All interventions improved stress and mindfulness, while no changes occurred in health, memory, or salivary cortisol. In conclusion, increased well-being followed training in all three practices, increased absorption was specific to Mindfulness, while BWV was unique in its benefits to depression and sleep latency, warranting further research.
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), which include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), encompass a heterogeneous group of diseases identified by chronic or recurrent symptom-based diagnostic criteria. Psychosocial factors are key components in the outcome of clinical manifestations of IBS symptoms. Anxiogenic and endocrine responses to stress are mediated by the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)–CRF1 receptor pathway. Preclinical studies show that activation of the CRF1 receptor by exogenous CRF or stress recapitulates many functional symptoms of IBS diarrhea-predominant patients as related to anxiogenic/hypervigilant behavior, autonomic nervous system alterations, induction of diarrhea, visceral hyperalgesia, enhanced colonic motility, mucus secretion, increased permeability, bacterial translocation, and mast cell activation, which are all alleviated by selective CRF1 receptor antagonists. Clinical studies also support that CRF administration can induce IBS-like symptoms in healthy subjects and heighten colonic sensitivity in IBS patients. Yet to be ascertained is whether CRF1 receptor antagonists hold promise as a new therapy in IBS treatment.
An increase in gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, including bowel discomfort, abdominal pain/discomfort, bloating, and alterations in bowel patterns, has been reported during premenses and menses menstrual cycle phases and the perimenopause period in women with and without irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This article reviews the literature related to one possible physiological mechanism—declining or low ovarian hormone levels—that may underlie the occurrence or exacerbations of abdominal pain/discomfort at times of low ovarian hormones (menses, menopause) in women with or without IBS.
To identify English-only review and data-based articles, PubMed was searched between January 1980 and September 2008 using the following terms: irritable bowel syndrome, functional gastrointestinal disorders, gastrointestinal motility, immune, pain, hyperalgesia, menstrual cycle, menopause, pregnancy, estrogen, estradiol (E2), and progesterone. Studies in animals and in humans were included; drug trials were excluded.
From our review of the literature, 18 papers were identified that were related either to the mechanisms accounting for menstrual cycle fluctuations (n = 12) or to the impact of menopausal status on symptoms of IBS (n = 6). One study reported that visceral pain sensitivity was significantly higher during menses than at other menstrual cycle phases in women with IBS (P < 0.05). Other menstrual cycle phase–linked symptoms, dysmenorrheal symptoms (cramping pain) in particular, were more intense in women with IBS. Animal studies have shed some light on the relationship of ovarian hormones to GI sensorimotor function.
The increase in GI symptoms around the time of menses and early menopause occurs at times of declining or low ovarian hormones, suggesting that estrogen and progesterone withdrawal may contribute either directly or indirectly. This review highlights the need for confirmatory preclinical and clinical studies to unravel the role of ovarian hormones in women with IBS.
irritable bowel syndrome; menstrual cycle; menopause; estrogen; progesterone; gastrointestinal symptoms; pregnancy; immune; pain
To demonstrate the benefits of a hyperimmune egg powder supplement for treating irritable bowel syndrome in 2 patients.
The first patient, not under chiropractic care, had been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome by her primary care physician. She sought care due to failure of several other alternative therapies. Her primary care physician ordered specific dietary modifications, yet this regimen did not appear to improve her symptoms. The second patient, also diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome by her primary care physician, decided to seek care because the attending physician was concurrently treating her for idiopathic scoliosis, and both treatments could be administered at 1 office visit. Her primary reason for seeking this treatment was her longstanding episodic intestinal cramping and diarrhea. She overheard another patient in the same clinic discussing how the hyperimmune egg powder had alleviated her digestive complaints and decided to undergo a 2-week trial of the hyperimmune egg powder.
Intervention and Outcome
The first subject was given a 31- day supply of the hyperimmune egg powder. She reported significant subjective improvement in frequency of defecation and stool consistency after 48 hours. She kept a daily journal to monitor her bowel habits during the trial period. The second subject was provided a 15-day supply of hyperimmune egg powder and instructed to keep the same daily journal to monitor her bowel habits. During the second week of the trial, she noticed less frequent bowel habits and a more solid stool consistency. However, shortly after she stopped taking the hyperimmune egg powder, the pre-trial symptoms returned. Because of this, she was put back on the hyperimmune egg powder, and the symptoms improved thereafter.
The addition of hyperimmune egg powder into an ordinary daily diet may have improved bowel function in 2 subjects, at least subjectively. However, it is unclear whether the subjective improvements are due to the hyperimmune egg powder or any psychosomatic effect created by physician contact, regardless of treatment type. This study should be repeated on a larger scale with a control group before any conclusions are made.
MeSH: Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Immunization, Passive Immunity; Non-MeSH: Hyperimmune Egg
OBJECTIVE--To determine the prevalence of symptoms compatible with a clinical diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome in the general population. DESIGN--Validated postal questionnaire sent to 2280 subjects randomly selected in 10 year age bands from the lists of eight general practitioners. The Manning criteria were used to define irritable bowel syndrome. SETTING--Urban population in Southampton and mixed urban-rural population in Andover, Hampshire. RESULTS--A response of 71% yielded 1620 questionnaires for analysis, of which 412 (25%) reported more than six episodes of abdominal pain in the preceding year, with 350 (22%) reporting symptoms consistent with the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. The male: female ratio was 1:1.38. More subjects with irritable bowel syndrome had constipation and diarrhoea and 35% with the syndrome reported rectal bleeding compared with an overall prevalence of 20%. Other symptoms and conditions including heartburn, dyspepsia, flushing, palpitations, migraine, and urinary symptoms were significantly more common in the group with irritable bowel syndrome. Abdominal pain in childhood was more common in the subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (12%) than without (3%). One third of the group with irritable bowel syndrome had sought medical advice during the study period (male:female ratio 1:1.21); consultation behaviour was influenced by age and the presence of associated symptoms, varied considerably among patients registered with different general practitioners, and was poorly correlated with symptom severity. CONCLUSION--Symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome are present in almost one quarter of the general population and tend to be associated with a number of other complaints and conditions, some of which may reflect smooth muscle dysfunction.
Abdominal distension is a common but little understood symptom of the irritable bowel syndrome. The authenticity of the symptom was confirmed by appreciable increases in girth measurement during the day in 20 patients with the irritable bowel syndrome compared with 20 control subjects. Objective corroboration of this finding was shown in the group with the irritable bowel syndrome by a highly significant increase in lateral abdominal 'profile' on computed tomography. Previously postulated mechanisms for distension--namely, retention of gas, depression of the diaphragm, and excess lumbar lordosis--were excluded by the radiological findings. Voluntary protrusion of the abdomen produced a completely different pattern on computed tomography to that observed in the irritable bowel syndrome. These observations suggest that abdominal distension may be related to changes in motility or tone of gastrointestinal smooth muscle.
'Dry eye' appears to be the main contributor to the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Regular breaks and the use of artificial tears or certain eye drops are some of the options to reduce visual discomfort. A combination of yoga practices have been shown to reduce visual strain in persons with progressive myopia. The present randomized controlled trial was planned to evaluate the effect of a combination of yoga practices on self-rated symptoms of visual discomfort in professional computer users in Bangalore.
Two hundred and ninety one professional computer users were randomly assigned to two groups, yoga (YG, n = 146) and wait list control (WL, n = 145). Both groups were assessed at baseline and after sixty days for self-rated visual discomfort using a standard questionnaire. During these 60 days the YG group practiced an hour of yoga daily for five days in a week and the WL group did their usual recreational activities also for an hour daily for the same duration. At 60 days there were 62 in the YG group and 55 in the WL group.
While the scores for visual discomfort of both groups were comparable at baseline, after 60 days there was a significantly decreased score in the YG group, whereas the WL group showed significantly increased scores.
The results suggest that the yoga practice appeared to reduce visual discomfort, while the group who had no yoga intervention (WL) showed an increase in discomfort at the end of sixty days.
Fifteen patients with the irritable bowel syndrome were studied to assess the effect of hypnotherapy on anorectal physiology. In comparison with a control group of 15 patients who received no hypnotherapy significant changes in rectal sensitivity were found in patients with diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome both after a course of hypnotherapy and during a session of hypnosis (p less than 0.05). Although patient numbers were small, a trend towards normalisation of rectal sensitivity was also observed in patients with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. No changes in rectal compliance or distension-induced motor activity occurred in either subgroup nor were any changes in somatic pain thresholds observed. The results suggest that symptomatic improvement in irritable bowel syndrome after hypnotherapy may in part be due to changes in visceral sensitivity.
Background. Psychiatric comorbidity and visceral hypersensitivity are common in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but little is known about visceral sensitivity in IBS patients without psychiatric disorders.
Aim. We wanted to examine rectal visceral sensitivity in IBS patients without comorbid psychiatric disorders, IBS patients with phobic anxiety and healthy volunteers.
Methods. A total of thirty-eight female, non-constipated IBS patients without psychiatric disorders and eleven female IBS patients with phobic anxiety were compared to nine healthy women using a barostat double random staircase method. The non-psychiatric patients were divided into those with diarrhoea predominant symptoms and those with alternating stool habits.
Results. The IBS patients without psychiatric disorders had normal visceral pressure thresholds. However, in the diarrhoea predominant subgroup, the volume discomfort threshold was reduced while it was unchanged in those with alternating stool habits. The phobic IBS patients had similar thresholds to the healthy volunteers. The rectal tone was increased in the non-psychiatric IBS patients with diarrhoea predominant symptoms and in the IBS patients with phobic anxiety.
Conclusions. Non-constipated IBS patients without psychiatric disorders had increased visceral sensitivity regarding volume thresholds but normal pressure thresholds. Our study suggests that the lowered volume threshold was due to increased rectal tone.
Functional Bowel Disorders (FBD) are chronic disorders that are difficult to treat and manage. Many patients and doctors are dissatisfied with the level of improvement in symptoms that can be achieved with standard medical care which may lead them to seek alternatives for care. There are currently no data on the types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) used for FBDs other than Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or on the economic costs of CAM treatments. The aim of this study is to determine prevalence, types and costs of CAM in IBS, functional diarrhea, functional constipation, and functional abdominal pain.
1012 Patients with FBD were recruited through a health care maintenance organization and followed for 6 months. Questionnaires were used to ascertain: Utilization and expenditures on CAM, symptom severity (IBS-SS), quality of life (IBS-QoL), psychological distress (BSI) and perceived treatment effectiveness. Costs for conventional medical care were extracted from administrative claims.
CAM was used by 35% of patients, at a median yearly cost of $200. The most common CAM types were ginger, massage therapy and yoga. CAM use was associated with female gender, higher education, and anxiety. Satisfaction with physician care and perceived effectiveness of prescription medication were not associated with CAM use. Physician referral to a CAM provider was uncommon but the majority of patients receiving this recommendation followed their physician's advice.
CAM is used by one-third of FBD patients. CAM use does not seem to be driven by dissatisfaction with conventional care. Physicians should discuss CAM use and effectiveness with their patients and refer patients if appropriate.
Some women with irritable bowel syndrome date the onset of symptoms to previous hysterectomy. To assess prospectively the incidence of gastrointestinal symptomatology arising de novo after hysterectomy, and to study the effect of surgery on pre-existing symptoms, 205 women completed a symptom questionnaire before and six weeks and six months after surgery. Beforehand, symptoms suggestive of irritable bowel syndrome occurred in 22% of patients. At six months after operation, 60% of these had improved or were symptom free while 20% had increased symptomatology. New gastrointestinal symptoms were present more than once per week in 10% of previously asymptomatic women. Constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome was the commonest symptom complex seen de novo, occurring more than once per week in 5% of the group. No relation was found between new symptomatology and the type of hysterectomy, oophorectomy, or the administration of perioperative antibiotics. This study suggests that many women with pre-existing gastrointestinal symptomatology improve after hysterectomy. However, symptoms suggestive of irritable bowel syndrome do arise de novo in 10%. As hysterectomy is common, gastroenterologists can expect to see women presenting with post-hysterectomy problems.
Symptoms of 50 patients with the irritable bowel syndrome were compared with those of 49 with endoscopically proven peptic ulcer disease and 49 with radiologically or endoscopically proven inflammatory bowel disease using a questionnaire which was administered after the diagnosis was made. Symptoms of bowel dysfunction including pain related to bowel movements were more likely to occur in the irritable bowel syndrome than peptic ulcer disease. Only abdominal distension, straining at stool and scybala, however, were significantly more likely in the irritable bowel syndrome than inflammatory bowel disease. Four symptoms previously shown to be more common in irritable bowel syndrome than in organic abdominal disease were combined. The more of these symptoms that were present, the more likely were the patients to have the irritable bowel syndrome than peptic ulcer disease. Symptoms of gut dysfunction are highly discriminating between irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcer disease but less so between irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Mixed evidence exists regarding whether irritable bowel syndrome patients show increased somatic pain perception compared to controls. The current study used a deep, tonic somatic pain stimulus (ischemic pain) to evaluate somatic hypersensitivity in irritable bowel syndrome patients.
A total of 27 diarrhea-predominant and 15 constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome patients, and 29 controls participated in the study. The modified submaximal effort tourniquet procedure was performed to induce ischemic arm pain, and the time required to reach pain threshold and pain tolerance were recorded in seconds. All subjects completed the functional bowel disease severity index (FBDSI) scale as well as several psychosocial instruments. Group differences for threshold and tolerance were determined using a series of 1-way ANOVA tests followed by Tukey comparisons.
Irritable bowel syndrome patients had a shorter time to ischemic threshold (F=34.606, p<0.001) and tolerance (F=38.656, p<0.001) compared to controls, however the groups did not differ on ratings of pain at the time of tolerance. Irritable bowel syndrome patients had a higher rating on the FBDSI scale compared to controls (p<0.001), and ischemic pain threshold was negatively correlated with the FBDSI score.
The results of this study suggest that a widespread alteration in central pain processing in irritable bowel syndrome patients may be present as they display hypersensitivity to ischemic arm pain, and ischemic pain threshold was associated with clinical symptoms. These findings could reflect a dysfunction in inhibitory pain systems in irritable bowel syndrome patients, as ischemic (deep) pain may be under tonic inhibitory control.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); ischemic pain; somatic pain; visceral hypersensitivity; somatic hypersensitivity; thermal hypersensitivity