Impact of pain on health-related quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jul 7;16(25):3168-77. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i25.3168.


Aim: To evaluate intensity, localization and cofactors of pain in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients in connection with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and disease activity.

Methods: We reviewed and analyzed the responses of 334 patients to a specifically designed questionnaire based on the short inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (SIBDQ) and the German pain questionnaire. Pain intensity, HRQOL, Crohn's disease activity index (CDAI) and colitis activity index (CAI) were correlated and verified on a visual analog scale (VAS).

Results: 87.9% of patients reported pain. Females and males reported comparable pain intensities and HRQOL. Surgery reduced pain in both genders (P = 0.023), whereas HRQOL only improved in females. Interestingly, patients on analgesics reported more pain (P = 0.003) and lower HRQOL (P = 0.039) than patients not on analgesics. A significant correlation was found in UC patients between pain intensity and HRQOL (P = 0.023) and CAI (P = 0.027), and in CD patients between HRQOL and CDAI (P = 0.0001), but not between pain intensity and CDAI (P = 0.35). No correlation was found between patients with low CDAI scores and pain intensity.

Conclusion: Most IBD patients suffer from pain and have decreased HRQOL. Our study reinforces the need for effective individualized pain therapy in IBD patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / pathology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics