Post-traumatic stress disorder and other co-morbidities in a sample population of patients with irritable bowel syndrome

Journal: European Journal of Internal Medicine. 2006; Dec;17(8):567-71.

Authors and affiliations: Cohen H, Jotkowitz A, Buskila D, Pelles-Avraham S, Kaplan Z, Neumann L, Sperber AD. Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Anxiety and Stress Research Unit, Faculty of the Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

PMID: 17142176

Background: High rates of psychiatric co-morbidity have been reported in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been reported in Fibromyalgia, a disorder also associated with IBS. The primary aim of this study was to assess the frequency of PTSD in IBS patients.

Methods: Sixty-four patients who fulfilled the Rome II diagnostic criteria for IBS were asked to complete questionnaires measuring the prevalence and severity of symptoms of PTSD and psychological distress.

Results: Although 86% of IBS patients reported a traumatic life experience, only 7.8% met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. High rates of somatization, obsessive-compulsive behavior, interpersonal sensitivity, and anxiety symptoms were seen among the IBS patients.

Conclusions: The results show a lower than expected prevalence of PTSD among IBS patients, which is similar to that of the general population. Thus, we did not find that PTSD is over-represented in a sample population of IBS patients.

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