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Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Feb;97(2):389-96.

Quality of life in inflammatory bowel disease in remission: the impact of IBS-like symptoms and associated psychological factors.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Section of Psychiatry, Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.



Quality of life is reduced in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Whether or not this is true in IBD patients in long-standing remission is unclear. Symptoms compatible with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are common in IBD patients in remission. The importance of psychological factors in this process is a matter of controversy.


Forty-three patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 40 with Crohn's disease (CD), who had been in remission for at least 1 yr according to laboratory parameters and clinical and endoscopical appearance, were included. These patients completed four different self-administered questionnaires, evaluating GI symptoms, anxiety, depression, and psychological general well-being. The two patient groups were compared with the general population, and within-group comparisons in psychometric scores were made between patients with and without IBS-like symptoms.


The psychological well-being in IBD patients in long-standing remission was similar to that of the general population, despite the presence of more severe GI symptoms. CD patients reported more psychosocial dysfunction, reduced well-being, and GI symptoms than UC patients. Thirty-three percent of UC patients and 57% of CD patients had IBS-like symptoms. The group with IBS-like symptoms (both UC and CD) had higher levels of anxiety and depression and more reduced well-being than those without. Anxiety and reduced vitality were found to be independent predictors for IBS-like symptoms in these patients.


The prevalence of IBS-like symptoms in IBD patients in long-standing remission is two to three times higher than that in the normal population. Psychological factors seem to be of importance in this process. However, as a group IBD patients in remission demonstrate psychological well-being comparable to that of the general population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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