Objectives: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a heterogeneous disorder affecting 12% of the population worldwide. Several studies identify IBS as a sequela of infectious gastroenteritis (IGE) with reported prevalence ranging from 4% to 31% and relative risk from 2.5 to 11.9. This meta-analysis was conducted to explore the differences between reported rates and provide a pooled estimate of risk for postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS).
Data sources: Electronic databases (MEDLINE, OLDMEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane database of clinical trials) and pertinent reference lists (including other review articles).
Review methods: Data were abstracted from included studies by two independent investigators; study quality, heterogeneity, and publication bias were assessed; sensitivity analysis was performed; and a summative effect estimate was calculated for risk of PI-IBS.
Results: Eight studies were included for analysis and all reported elevated risk of IBS following IGE. Median prevalence of IBS in the IGE groups was 9.8% (IQR 4.0-13.3) and 1.2% in control groups (IQR 0.4-1.8) (sign-rank test, p= 0.01). The pooled odds ratio was 7.3 (95% CI, 4.7-11.1) without significant heterogeneity (chi2 heterogeneity statistic, p= 0.41). Subgroup analysis revealed an association between PI-IBS risk and IGE definition used.
Conclusions: This study provides supporting evidence for PI-IBS as a sequela of IGE and a pooled risk estimate revealing a sevenfold increase in the odds of developing IBS following IGE. The results suggest that the long-term benefit of reduced PI-IBS may be gained from primary prevention of IGE.