Objective: The impact of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) on quality of life is unknown. We aimed to evaluate whether FGIDs impair quality of life in terms of mental and physical functioning in patients and nonpatients.
Methods: A random sample of 4500 subjects, representative of the Australian population, were mailed a questionnaire on gastrointestinal symptoms in the past 12 months. Quality of life was assessed using the valid SF-12, in which the lower the scores, the greater the impairment of quality of life. The response rate was 72%.
Results: Among those fulfilling Rome I criteria for a diagnosis of a FGID (n = 1006) versus those not having a FGID (n = 1904) (healthy controls), there was a significant association with impaired mental (43.9 vs. 48.1) and physical (47.7 vs. 51.6) functioning. Mental functioning (43.3 vs. 44.9) and physical functioning (46.0 vs. 50.5) was significantly more impaired in patients versus nonpatients with a FGID. Furthermore, nonpatients with a FGID had more impaired mental and physical functioning than healthy controls.
Conclusion: FGIDs impair quality of life, particularly in those that consult for health care.