Meditation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Clin Med. 2022 Nov 2;11(21):6516. doi: 10.3390/jcm11216516.


Mind-body interventions have shown efficacy in many conditions that have psychosomatic mechanisms, as well as for other pathologies. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of meditation/mindfulness at improving the symptoms severity, quality of life and other associated mood and mental conditions, measured in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A systematic review of randomized controlled trials in adult participants with IBS was conducted. Eight databases were searched for articles. We performed a meta-analysis evaluating the effects of meditation-based therapy on symptomatology, quality of life, anxiety and depression. Out of 604 articles screened, six were selected for quantitative review. The standardized mean difference (SMD) of the mindfulness group and the control group was of -36.95 (95% CI -74.61-0.7), p = 0.054 regarding the IBS symptom score; of 12.58 (95% CI 4.42-20.74), p = 0.003 regarding the IBS quality of life; SMD = 2.8 (95% CI 1.01-4.6), p = 0.002 for spiritual scale; and of 15.49 (95% CI -28.43--2.55), p = 0.019 regarding the pain score in IBS. Our study found that the quality of life and the spiritual scale scores (i.e., mindful awareness) were statistically significantly higher in the mindfulness group, while the pain score was statistically significantly lower in the mindfulness group.

Keywords: irritable bowel syndrome; meditation; mental healing; mindfulness; self-compassion.

Publication types

  • Review

Grant support

This research received no external funding.