Abstract

Impact of COVID-19 on Individuals With Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Comorbid Anxiety and/or Depression

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2021 Mar 12. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001515. Online ahead of print.

Kendra J Kamp 1, Rona L Levy, Sean A Munson, Margaret M Heitkemper

 
     

Author information

  • 1*Division of Gastroenterology, School of Medicine †School of Social Work ‡Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering §Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Abstract

Goals: The goal of this study was to describe the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on ability to engage in activities and the influence on psychological distress and gastrointestinal symptoms among individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and comorbid anxiety and/or depression.

Background: Individuals with IBS and comorbid anxiety and/or depression report increased symptoms and decreased quality of life compared with individuals with IBS alone. The current COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to further influence symptoms among individuals with IBS and comorbid anxiety and/or depression.

Study: Individuals who met the Rome-IV IBS criteria and reported mild to severe anxiety and/or depression were included. Participants completed an online survey with questions about anxiety, depression, impact of COVID on activities and symptoms, and demographics.

Results: Fifty-five individuals participated in the study. The COVID-19 pandemic most commonly influenced their ability to spend time with friends and family, shop for certain types of food, and access health care. Participants also reported increased stress (92%), anxiety (81%), and depressive symptoms (67%). Finally, around half the sample reported increases in abdominal pain (48%), diarrhea (45%), or constipation (44%).

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic is related to self-reported increases in psychological distress and gastrointestinal symptoms among individuals with IBS and comorbid anxiety and/or depression. Additional research is needed to intervene on these symptoms.

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