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Psychology course improves quality of life in IBS

Psychological education for patients with irritable bowel syndrome can reduce both symptoms and follow-up visits, according to a new trial.

Researchers found that a course of education on the syndrome from a gastroenterologist significantly lowered overall gastrointestinal symptom scores, assessed using a 20-point scale, with intervention participants averaging 7.8 compared to 10.9 in the control group at the end of the study period. This significance was maintained at three month follow-up.

The intervention group demonstrated significantly higher quality of life scores compared to controls. Patients in the psycho-education group scored 77.6 on the IBS Quality of Life instrument, compared to 66.4 in the control group.

The trial featured 69 patients randomised to receive either psychological education or a wait-listed control. The intervention lasted five weeks and featured interactive lectures from a gastroenterologist and lessons on beliefs and attitudes in IBS.

The US authors concluded: ‘The psycho-educational group intervention would be beneficial to patients and clinicians, by reducing the cost of treatment, the amount of unnecessary follow-up visits to clinicians and enhancing the patients’ ability to self-manage.’

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2012, available online 3 December

Readers' comments (1)

  • Vinci Ho

    I think CBT works in IBS, together with FODMAP diet( some people even go on gluten free though not coeliac ). It is about patients understanding more about the condition and learn to address negative thoughts , more importantly.....

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