Irritable bowel syndrome – psychiatric issues

Open access

Abstract

Introduction: Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic gastrointestinal disease classified as a functional gastrointestinal disorder. It has been diagnosed on the basis of the so-called Rome IV criteria since 2016. The prevalence of IBS in the general population is about 10–20%, with most patients being women. The etiology of the syndrome is multifactorial and is associated with visceral sensory dysfunction, abnormalities of motor and secretory bowel function, a history of infectious diarrhea and abnormalities in gut microbiota, dysregulation of the brain–gut axis (the influence of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and sex hormones), genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors, and the patient's personality traits. IBS patients may show differences in the structure and function of the brain when compared to healthy control individuals. Treatment of IBS involves the use of non-pharmacological interventions (psychotherapy, education, hypnotherapy, dietary modifications, regular physical activity) and pharmacotherapy (cholinolytic drugs, opioid receptor antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonists and 5-HT4 agonists).

Aim: The aim of the authors of this work is to draw attention to certain psychiatric aspects of the irritable bowel syndrome. It meets the criteria for a somatization disorder. Somatization is an important psychological factor directly related to the severity of IBS. It is estimated that the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among IBS patients ranges from 40% to 90% and is higher than in the general population. Affective disorders and anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed.

Method: The article reviews the research and works available in the Google Scholar and PubMed databases combining the issue of IBS with psychiatric aspects, i.e. common for IBS and psychiatric disorders, etiopathogenesis, the concept of somatization in the context of IBS, and the coexistence of diseases and mental disorders with the irritable bowel syndrome.

Conclusion: Further research is needed to determine the causes of comorbidity of IBS and mental disorders.

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