Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Menstrual Cycle

Cureus. 2021 Jan 14;13(1):e12692. doi: 10.7759/cureus.12692.


Introduction: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. Female patients with bowel disease commonly report worsening of symptoms in the menstrual cycle. However, there is a paucity of data regarding IBS presentations' variation during different phases of the menstrual cycle. The current study aimed to evaluate the same in female IBS patients.

Materials and methods: Consecutive premenopausal female patients with the diagnosis of IBS attending the outdoor (OPD) of Department of Gastroenterology and Gynaecology; IMS and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Odisha from June 2019 to December 2019 were included in the study and evaluated by a set of questionnaires regarding various presentations during all the three phases of the menstrual cycle.

Results: Consecutive 102 cases with the diagnosis of IBS were included in the study and evaluated. The mean age of presentation was in mid-30s. Most of the subjects suffered from IBS mixed (IBS-M) type. More patients significantly suffered from constipation (27.27%) during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycles than the menstrual period of their cycles (p - 0.009). More than 50% of all the cases suffered from abdominal bloating during all phases of the menstrual cycle, which was quite disturbing and affected the quality of life. These IBS patients were more symptomatic with more significant limitation of daily activities, suffered from low quality of life, and obtained physician consultation during the menstrual phase as compared to other cycle stages.

Conclusion: Premenopausal female patients with IBS become much more symptomatic during the menstrual phase of the cycle than other stages of the cycle.

Keywords: constipation; diarrhea; dyspepsia; menstruation.