Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in patients improved unexpectedly when they were under orders to stay home from COVID-19, reaffirming the gut-brain connection in functional gastrointestinal disorders, according to research selected for its presentation in the week of digestive disease) 2021.
“One of our main hypotheses was that these patients would be worse due to pressure and stress due to COVID-19,” said Juan Pablo Stefanolo, MD, lead author of the study and physician in the Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Hospital de Clínicas José de San Martín, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. “We believe the results have to do with people staying home. They weren’t exposed to outside stress and at home they were able to avoid food triggers.”
Pandemic blockade orders in Argentina created a unique opportunity for researchers to study the impact and reduction of pandemic stressors social interaction in 129 patients with IBS whose data prior to the pandemic had been collected through a previous research project. Patients were re-evaluated during closure with the same online survey which included multiple validated measures of IBS severity, anxiety, and depression, along with questions about co-occurring illnesses, including heartburn, insufficiency, indigestion, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and non-migraine headaches.
During the closure in Argentina, one of the longest closures in the world, the number of patients with severe IBS dropped dramatically from 65 to 39. The average score on the severity scale of the irritable bowel syndrome group it also fell 66 points, from 278 to 212 on a 500-point scale. Symptoms of IBS of pain, distension, stool consistency, anxiety, somatization, fibromyalgia, and symptoms of chronic fatigue improved during blockage.
Patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders they experience symptoms even though there are no structural or biochemical abnormalities. The gut-brain connection refers to the role of stress and psychological difficulties in triggering debilitating bowel-related symptoms. Headache, heartburn, and insufficiency, all outside the category of functional disorders, worsened during the study, probably due to the weight gain reported by about 60% of patients.
“Our results reinforce the concept that IBS, or functional gastrointestinal disorders, have a connection to psychosocial factors, as well as to diet and other factors,” Dr. Stefanolo. “The gut-brain axis has many facets.”
Dr. Stefanolo will present the data from the study, “Intestinal-brain axis and irritable bowel syndrome during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. A survey-based study,” summary Su093, Sunday, May 23 at 1 p.m. : 00 EDT.
Provided for the week of digestive diseases
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