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DDW: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Severity Symptoms Improved in Lockdown

Proportion of severe IBS patients and mean IBS Severity Scale decreased during lockdown versus prepandemic, may be secondary to reduction in external stress burdens

a woman holding her stomach

MONDAY, May 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms improved during the mandatory lockdown in Argentina compared with a prepandemic period, according to a study presented at the 2021 Digestive Disease Week, held virtually from May 21 to 23.

Juan Pablo Stefanolo, M.D., from the Hospital de Clínicas José de San Martín at Buenos Aires University in Argentina, and colleagues examined the impact of mandatory lockdown due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic on the brain-gut axis symptomatology in 129 patients with IBS.

The researchers observed a significant decrease in the proportion of severe IBS patients during lockdown versus prepandemic (30 versus 50.39 percent). The mean Irritable Bowel Syndrome Severity Scale was 278.54 ± 88.64 versus 212.36 ± 117.50 before the pandemic and during lockdown, respectively. A decrease of 1 average point on the Likert Scale was seen for global IBS symptoms, pain, and distention, and there was a 2-point average decrease on the Bristol Scale, indicating improvement in stool consistency. Improvements were also seen in anxiety and somatization scores, and significant decreases were seen in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue symptoms during lockdown versus prepandemic. Significant increases were seen in headache and pyrosis and/or regurgitation symptoms. After adjustment for confounders, these effects remained, indicating that mandatory lockdown was an independent protective factor for severe IBS symptoms (odds ratio, 0.39).

"Our results reinforce the concept that IBS, or functional gastrointestinal disorders, have a connection to psychosocial factors, as well as food and other factors," Stefanolo said in a statement. "The gut-brain axis has a lot of facets."

Abstract No. Su093

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