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Clujul Med. 2015;88(3):253-7. doi: 10.15386/cjmed-495. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Anxiety and IBS revisited: ten years later.

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2nd Medical Department, Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.



Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been associated with high prevalence of psychological and psychiatric disorders. However, the association between IBS and each of its subtypes (diarrhea IBS-D, constipation IBS-C, mixed IBS-M) with anxiety still remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to perform a comparative analysis of the association between anxiety and IBS on a period of ten years.


PubMed was searched for studies analyzing IBS and anxiety, published at 10 years interval. The study presents a comparative analysis of the articles that were published between 2003-2005 and 2013-2015, investigating the correlation between anxiety and IBS.


The initial search identified 220 articles, from which 156 were published between 2013 and 2015, and 64 were published between 2003 and 2005. Of these articles, 15 articles were included in the review. Out of these 15 articles, 10 articles analyzed the correlation between anxiety-depression status in IBS patients using specific questionnaires, 2 articles analyzed genetic variables in IBS, 1 article analyzed serotonin and monoamine oxidase levels in IBS, 1 article analyzed serum levels of IL-1β and IL-10 in IBS, 1 article analyzed somatostatin and vasoactive intestinal peptide levels in IBS. The result was a review of 15 studies that analyzed the association between IBS and anxiety.


IBS is a heterogeneous disorder caused by numerous psychological, immunological, infectious, endocrine and genetic factors. In recent years, the number of studies concentrating on genetic factors, cytokines and hormones has increased in comparison with the 2003-2005 period, when clinical investigation, using mainly questionnaires was the essential method. Also, the total number of papers investigating anxiety and IBS, considerably increased. The recent studies have confirmed the fact that IBS symptoms are often exacerbated during stressful events and the psychiatric treatment has a positive effect on gastro-intestinal symptomatology.


anxiety; irritable bowel syndrome

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