The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on irritable bowel syndrome

Xin Zi Quek, Sabrina, Xiu Ling Loo, Evelyn, Demutska, Alla, Chua, Chun En, Kew, Guan Sen, Wong, Scott, Lau, Hui Xing, En Xian Sarah, Low En Xian Sarah, Loh, Tze Liang, Ooi, Shien Lung, Hung, Emily C.W., Rahma, M. Masudur, Ghoshal, Uday C., Wong, Sunny H., Cheung, Cynthia K.Y., Syam, Ari F., Tan, Niandi, Xiao, Yinglian, Liu, Jin-Song, Lu, Fang, Chen, Chien-Lien, Yeh Lee, Yeong, Maralit, Ruter M., Kim, Yong-Sung, Oshima, Tadayuki, Miwa, Hiroto, Pang, Junxiong Vincent, and Siah, Kewin Tien Ho (2020) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on irritable bowel syndrome. Gut, 69 (Suppl 2). A7.

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Background: Gastrointestinal manifestations of the COVID-19 pandemic may mimic Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and social distancing measures may affect IBS patients negatively. We aimed to study the impact of COVID-19 on respondents with IBS.

Methods: We conducted an anonymised survey using MySurvey platform from May to June 2020 in 35 countries. The general public's knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding personal hygiene and social distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic and the psychological impact of COVID-19 were assessed. Statistical analysis was performed to determine the differences in well-being and compliance to social distancing measures between IBS and non-IBS respondents. Factors associated with worsening of IBS symptoms were evaluated. For newly developed IBS-like symptoms, subjects must fulfill ROME IV criteria.

Results: Out of 2704 respondents, 2024 (74.9%) did not have IBS, 305 (11.3%) had IBS and 374 (13.8%) did not know what IBS was. Respondents with IBS reported significantly worse emotional, social and psychological well-being compared to non-IBS respondents and were less compliant to social distancing (28.2% vs 35.3%, p=0.029, table 1). Of the non-IBS respondents, 96 (4.7%) developed new IBS-like symptoms. Among IBS respondents, the majority reported no change in symptom severity (61.6%), while 26.6% reported improvement and 11.8% reported worsening in IBS symptoms. A higher proportion of respondents with no change in the severity of IBS symptoms was willing to practice social distancing indefinitely compared to those who deteriorated (74.9% vs 51.4%, p=0.016, table 2). In multivariate analysis (table 3), willingness to continue social distancing for only another 2–3 weeks was significantly associated with higher odds of worsening IBS while better emotional well-being was associated with lower odds.

Conclusions: Our study showed differences in well-being and compliance to social distancing between IBS and non-IBS respondents, and these factors influence the worsening in severity of IBS. Further research will focus on how occupational stress and dietary changes may influence IBS symptoms.

Item ID: 65240
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1468-3288
Keywords: COVID, IBS
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Copyright Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
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Abstracts of the International Digestive Disease Forum (IDDF), 22–23 November 2020, Hong Kong.

Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2020 02:34
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110307 Gastroenterology and Hepatology @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920105 Digestive System Disorders @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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