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Subgroups of irritable bowel syndrome: a new approach
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre for Medicine, Department of Endocrinology and Gastroenterology UHL.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Centre for Medicine, Department of Endocrinology and Gastroenterology UHL.
2004 (English)In: European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, ISSN 0954-691X (print) 1473-5687 (online), Vol. 16, no 10, 991-994 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: The newly revised Rome criteria for the definition of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), derived from the consensus of experts in the field, were developed in order to identify subgroups of IBS patients for research. The criteria have, to our knowledge, never been validated. Both when trying to include IBS patients in studies and in clinical practice we found it difficult to apply the Rome 2 supportive criteria.

Aim: To study the variation of stool consistency and defecatory symptoms in IBS patients prospectively with diary cards and to validate the Rome 2 supportive criteria.

Methods: Sixty IBS patients, included by interview according to the Rome 1 criteria, recorded their bowel symptoms on diary cards over 40 days. Four subgroups were found, characterised by loose-stool-predominant, hard-stool-predominant, alternating stool consistency, and loose stools only. Urgency, straining and feeling of incomplete evacuation occurred in all but seven individuals, irrespective of subgroup.

Results: The Rome 2 criteria could subclassify seven patients into diarrhoea-predominant IBS based on stool consistency and absence of straining and could subclassify no patients into constipation-predominant IBS, as urge was present in nearly all patients. Fifty-three patients could not be classified according to the Rome 2 criteria, as they had defecatory symptoms of all kinds.

Conclusion: As the Rome 2 supportive criteria use the presence or absence of specific defecatory symptoms as an instrument for categorising IBS patients into diarrhoea- and constipation-predominant subgroups, these criteria could not be used for the majority of IBS patients in this study and should be reconsidered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 16, no 10, 991-994 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14180DOI: 10.1097/00042737-200410000-00007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-14180DiVA: diva2:22808
Available from: 2006-12-07 Created: 2006-12-07 Last updated: 2009-10-31
In thesis
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Diagnostic Symptom Criteria and Impact of Rectal Distensions on Cortisol and Electrodermal Activity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Diagnostic Symptom Criteria and Impact of Rectal Distensions on Cortisol and Electrodermal Activity
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In a population prevalence questionnaire study we demonstrated that constipation and fecal incontinence are common problems in the general Swedish population with a similar magnitude as in other Western countries. 95.6% of the population had between three bowel movements per day and three per week. Constipation was mostly defined by “hard stools” and “the need of using laxatives”.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is characterized by abdominal pain/discomfort and abnormal bowel habits. The diagnostic criteria of IBS are based on clinical symptoms. Division of IBS patients into symptom subgroups appears important as their bowel symptoms are characterized by heterogeneity. International criteria to subgroup IBS (Rome II) are based on expert consensus and not on evidence. We investigated the variation of stool consistency and defecatory symptoms in 135 IBS patients by symptom diary cards. Most patients had

alternating stool consistency. When subgroups were based on stool consistency, all kinds of defecatory symptoms (straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuations) were frequently present in all subgroups. Stool frequency was in the normal range in the majority of patients. We propose that IBS subgroups should be based on stool consistency. We suggest that Rome II supportive criteria must be reconsidered as the determination of presence or absence of specific symptoms does not work as an instrument for categorization of IBS patients into diarrhoea- and constipation-predominant. We also propose that abnormal stool frequency should be excluded to define subgroups of IBS. Alternating stool consistency and presence of different defecatory symptoms, regardless of stool consistency should be included as criteria for IBS.

Stress is known to play an important role in the onset and modulation of IBS symptoms. From experimental studies there is evidence for a stress-dependent alteration of visceral sensitivity. The biological mechanisms responsible for the causal link between stress and IBS symptoms are not completely understood, but the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis and the autonomous nervous system seem to play a prominent role in the pathophysiology of IBS. We investigated visceral sensitivity and the effect of repeated maximal tolerable rectal distensions on salivary cortisol levels and skin conductance in patients with IBS, chronic constipation and healthy volunteers.

We found that the expectancy of the experimental situation per se (provocation of bowel symptoms by rectal distensions) compared to non-experimental days at home measured as salivary cortisol had a high impact on the level of arousal in IBS. IBS patients had higher skin conductance values than controls in the beginning of distension series and lower rectal thresholds for first sensation, urge and discomfort than healthy controls and constipation patients. IBS patients demonstrated habituation to repeated subjective maximal tolerable rectal distensions according to sympathetic activity although patients continued to rate their discomfort as maximal. Constipation patients had lower sympathetic activity than IBS patients before and during repeated rectal distensions. None of the groups demonstrated a significant increase in cortisol after repetitive rectal distensions.

We conclude that Rome II supportive criteria for IBS should be reconsidered according to our findings. IBS patients are more sensitive to pre-experimental stress than healthy controls and patients with constipation. This should be considered in the design of experimental IBS studies. IBS patients habituated to subjective maximal tolerable, repetitive rectal distensions with decreasing sympathetic activity. Since responses to repeated stimuli of close-to-pain intensities are resistant to habituation this finding could be caused by psychological influences on perception, that is, perceptual response bias.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för molekylär och klinisk medicin, 2006
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 974
Keyword
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diarrhoea- and constipation-predominant, stress, nervous, cortisol
National Category
Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7899 (URN)91-85643-24-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-12-15, Eken, Campus US, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-12-07 Created: 2006-12-07 Last updated: 2012-03-22

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Walter, SusannaBodemar, Göran

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