Prevalence of restless legs syndrome in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Oct 21;17(39):4404-7. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i39.4404.


Aim: To determine the prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Methods: Patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS (n = 30), constipation-predominant IBS (n = 30), or mixed-symptom IBS (n = 30) were recruited from the community between March 2008 and February 2009. Rifaximin 200 mg three times daily was administered empirically to alleviate small intestinal bowel overgrowth in all patients. The presence of RLS was assessed via an RLS questionnaire and polysomnography.

Results: Twenty-six patients with IBS (29%) were diagnosed with RLS using the RLS questionnaire. Twenty-four of the 26 patients (92%) underwent polysomnography, and all had confirmation of RLS. A greater percentage of patients with RLS had diarrhea-predominant IBS (62%) compared with patients with constipation-predominant IBS (4%) or mixed-symptom IBS (33%).

Conclusion: Restless legs syndrome is prevalent in patients with IBS, especially those with diarrheal symptoms. Assessment of concomitant disorders may improve diagnosis and expand relevant treatment options for patients.

Keywords: Irritable bowel syndrome; Prevalence; Restless legs syndrome; Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Diarrhea / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult