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J Psychosom Res. 2005 Aug;59(2):57-64.

Eating disorders and irritable bowel syndrome: is there a link?

Author information

1
Eating Disorders Research Unit (P059), Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The relationship between eating disorders (ED) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is poorly understood. We wanted to determine the prevalence of IBS in a large sample of eating disordered individuals, examine the timing of onset of these disorders and assess whether there are any predictors of IBS symptoms in ED sufferers.

METHODS:

Participants with a current or past ED were recruited from a volunteer register. Two hundred thirty-four respondents completed a questionnaire on IBS devised for the study. ED symptoms were assessed using the Eating Disorders Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q).

RESULTS:

Sixty-four percent currently met the widely used Manning criteria for IBS. The majority of participants (87%) had developed their ED before the onset of IBS, with a mean of 10 years between the onset of ED and IBS. All EDE subscales were associated with current IBS symptoms, whereas ED duration was not.

CONCLUSION:

Preliminary findings suggest that EDs may increase the risk of developing IBS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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