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Link Between Poor Sleep and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Studied

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Researchers have documented a link between poor sleep and subsequent gastrointestinal disturbances, both common problems for people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM).

The University of Washington study followed women with IBS and found that more gastrointestinal disturbances occurred after a night of poor sleep. This news is the most recent supporting the possibility of a casual relationship between the two.

Over the course of the 2-month analysis, 82 women with IBS and 35 women without used a combination of 7-day recall and a daily diary to test the relationship between the two ailments. Approximately 25% of the IBS women suffered from sleep disturbances. The severity of the disturbance correlated strongly with the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms.

Although the relationship between IBS and gastrointestinal symptoms remained significant even after researchers adjusted for psychological stress, they noted that this adjustment weakened the possibility of a definitive relationship.

A brief analysis of the data showed that poor sleep on a single night leads to significantly increased symptoms on the following day, while increased symptoms on a particular day do not appear to cause sleep disturbances that night.

Original report published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

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