Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraine are distinct clinical disorders. Apart from the characteristics of chronic and recurrent pain in nature, these pain-related disorders apparently share many similarities. For example, IBS is female predominant with community prevalence about 5-10%, whereas that of migraine is 1-3% also showing female predominance. They are often associated with many somatic and psychiatric comorbidities in terms of fibromyaglia, chronic fatigue syndrome, interstitial cystitis, insomnia and depression etc., even the IBS subjects may have coexisted migraine with an estimated odds ratio of 2.66. They similarly reduce the quality of life of victims leading to the social, medical and economic burdens. Their pathogeneses have been somewhat addressed in relation to biopsychosocial dysfunction, heredity, genetic polymorphism, central/visceral hypersensitivity, somatic/cutaneous allodynia, neurolimbic pain network, gonadal hormones and abuses etc. Both disorders are diagnosed according to the symptomatically based criteria. Multidisciplinary managements such as receptor target new drugs, melantonin, antispasmodics, and psychological drugs and measures, complementary and alternatives etc. are recommended to treat them although the used agents may not be necessarily the same. Finally, the prognosis of IBS is pretty good, whereas that of migraine is less fair since suicide attempt and stroke are at risk. In conclusion, both distinct chronic pain disorders to share many similarities among various aspects probably suggest that they may locate within the same spectrum of a pain-centered disorder such as central sensitization syndromes. The true pathogenesis to involve these disorders remains to be clarified in the future.
Keywords: Biopsychosocial model; Comorbidity; Irritable bowel syndrome; Migraine; Quality of life.