Health-related quality of life and symptom classification in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

Graeme Smith*, Doug Steinke, Kay Penny, Moira Kinnear, Ian D Penman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Previous research has established that health-related quality of life can be adversely affected by irritable bowel syndrome IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome has been classified to subgroups by predominant bowel symptom: constipation, diarrhoea or alternating between the two. Little is presently known about the specific impact of irritable bowel syndrome on health-related quality of life within disease sub-groups across time.

Aims. To examine the health-related quality of life in a cohort of individuals with irritable bowel syndrome to explore the association between quality of life and disease subtype classification.

Setting. The general population of the UK.

Design. Longitudinal cohort survey was conducted.

Methods. Individuals with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome were recruited via a UK-wide newspaper advertisement. The health-related quality of life was measured using a battery of validated questionnaires.

Results. Data on 494 participants with a Rome II confirmed diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome were examined. Measurement of generic health-related quality of life revealed lower median scores (poorer quality of life) in anxiety/depression and pain/discomfort domains of health.

Conclusion. Health-related quality of life is impaired in community based individuals with IBS. Patients appear to fluctuate between sub-groups when irritable bowel syndrome is classified across time. This study suggests that the impact of irritable bowel syndrome may be greatly underestimated.

Relevance for clinical practice. The use of sub-group classification and understanding of predictive factors may allow for a more flexible and efficient approach to healthcare assessment and patient care for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-12
JournalJournal of nursing and healthcare of chronic illness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2010


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