Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Psychiatric Disorders Amang University Freshmen

Akram Pourshams, Nasrin Zendehdel, Maryam Semnani, Uosef Semnani


Background: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common disorder. Some researches have pointed to an interaction between psychiatric disorders and IBS. Present study aimed to determine psychiatric disorders in patients with IBS compared to normal controls among an Iranian population.

Materials and Methods: All freshmen students (n=3012) of Tehran University invited to the study at 2001. A trained general practitioner interviewed the entire students for IBS based on Rome II criteria. A gastroenterologist visited the students who had Rome II criteria and ordered laboratory exams that are necessary for ruling out organic diseases. After confirming IBS patients, a matched control group by sex and age was selected. A psychologist who was blind to IBS diagnosis interviewed all cases and controls using a reliable 28- items General Heath Questionnaire. Chi-Square analysis used to compare psychiatric disorders in the cases and controls. P-value less than 0.05 determined as significant.

Results: A total of 3008 students (female; 1785, male; 1223) participated to the study and 143 had Rome II criteria for IBS (4.7%, 95% CI 4-5.6%). Finally 46 (female; 31) with IBS and 97 (female; 62) controls underwent psychologic interview. Somatic symptoms, anxiety, depression, social dysfunction and mental disorder were reported by 41.3%, 34.8%, 15.2%, 43.5% and 41.3% respectively in IBS patients and 14.4%, 14.4%, 5.2%, 21.6% and 13.4% among control group respectively. All psychiatric disordoers were significantly more common among IBS patients than controls.

Conclusions: Mental health in IBS patients is impaired. This fact could be primary or secondary. Control of psychiatric disorders may improve IBS symptoms.


Irritable bowel syndrome; Psychiatric disorder; Anxiety; Depression; Iran.

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