The short-term natural history of irritable bowel syndrome: a time-series analysis

Behav Res Ther. 1997 Apr;35(4):319-26. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(96)00104-0.


Although researchers have studied irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including its physiological and psychological characteristics and treatments' effectiveness, basic descriptive information about IBS has been limited to lists of symptoms and explanations of what IBS is not. The purpose of the present study is to describe how core IBS symptoms vary over time. Twenty-five subjects (17 females, 8 males), who were not receiving treatment for IBS, rated the severity of their IBS symptoms daily for 8 weeks. Four symptoms' (abdominal pain, abdominal tenderness, constipation and diarrhea) ratings were slimmed to create a primary IBS symptom score. The data were detrended, then a time-series analysis was performed. Many subjects' IBS severity was predictable over more than one day, and symptoms tended to occur in clusters rather than randomly. Anxiety and depression were slightly to moderately correlated with IBS variables, but virtually all of these correlations were nonsignificant.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / complications
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / physiopathology*
  • Depression / complications
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors