IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME AND ENDOMETRIOSIS: IS THERE A CONNECTION?

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Basma Issa

Abstract

Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an extremely common condition affecting approximately 10-15% of the population. Lower abdominal pain is a common feature and, if the patient also has gynaecological symptoms such as heavy periods, they may be referred to a gynaecologist especially when the bowel symptoms are relatively mild. In this setting a laparoscopy is often undertaken and endometriosis commonly identified as this condition affects up to 10% of women. Consequently pain is frequently attributed to the endometriosis even when it is relatively mild. However it is a common observation amongst gynaecologists that women with mild endometriosis often have severe symptoms which do not seem to respond well to treatment. This raises the possibility that their pain may not actually be due to endometriosis or is being amplified by the visceral hypersensitivity which is a characteristic feature of irritable bowel syndrome.Methods: 20 patients with minimal-mild endometriosis, 20 with moderate-severe endometriosis, 20 healthy volunteers (HV) who have had laparoscopy for sterilisation, 20 IBS patients and 20 patients with pain who were found to have a normal pelvis (on laparoscopy) were studied. Gastrointestinal, gynaecological, and noncolonic symptoms were recorded as well as demography, quality of life and psychological status. Visceral sensitivity was assessed in all patients and abdominal distension was studied in a sub group of 26 endometriosis patients and 20 IBS patients.Results: 20 (100%) of IBS patients, 13 (65%) of minimal-mild endometriosis patients, 11 (55%) of moderate-severe endometriosis patients, 17 (85%) of laparoscopic negative pain patients and no healthy volunteers fulfilled ROME III criteria for IBS. Patients with endometriosis and IBS had similar levels of visceral sensitivity which were significantly lower than that observed in controls (p=0·002, p

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Original languageEnglish
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Award date31 Dec 2012