Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in chronic fatigue

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The aetiologies of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue are

unknown. Psychological as well as physical factors have been

implicated in both. Fatigue is common in irritable bowel

syndrome patients. The purpose of the study was to determine

the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in chronic fatigue

sufferers. A bowel symptom questionnaire was sent to all

4,000 members of a self-help group for fatigue sufferers. Of

the 1,797 who responded, 1,129 (63%) fulfilled a diagnosis of

irritable bowel syndrome (recurrent abdominal pain and at

least three Manning criteria). This greatly exceeds estimates

of irritable bowel syndrome prevalence of up to 22% in the

general population. Furthermore, irritable bowel syndrome

sufferers within this chronic fatigue population reported

more Manning criteria (14% had all six Manning criteria) than

irritable bowel syndrome sufferers in the general population.

This study demonstrates an overlap of symptoms in chronic

fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome. In chronic fatigue,

irritable bowel symptoms may be one aspect of a more

generalised disorder.

Gomborone JE, Gorard DA, Dewsnap PA, Libby GW, Farthing MJ

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