Aims: To assess the impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Methods: Two HRQOL instruments were administered by telephone interviews to a sample of 253 IBS French patients recruited from the general population. IBS was diagnosed according to the Manning, Rome I and Rome II criteria. Patients with organic diseases were excluded from the study. A generic instrument, the Short Form 36 (SF-36), and an IBS disease-specific instrument, the IBSQOL, were used.
Results: Patients with IBS had statistically significant (P<0.05) lower scores for all SF-36 QOL domains compared with the general French population. Women (N=192) reported significantly (P<0.05) poorer HRQOL on both the SF-36 and the IBSQOL scores than men (N=61) for all domains except energy on the SF36 and the sleep on the IBSQOL. HRQOL deteriorated with time since onset of IBS symptoms for some domains such as diet. For both instruments, a positive correlation was observed between low scores and intensity of pain and discomfort. IBS patients with a predominance of diarrhea (N=72) exhibited significantly greater impairment of HRQOL in the emotional domain than IBS persons with constipation predominance (N=65) (P<or=0.05).
Conclusion: IBS has a significant impact on HRQOL of patients. In addition, specific characteristics such as gender, symptom severity and time since onset of symptoms are predictive of more impaired health-related quality of life.