SAN DIEGO — Body mass index in patients with IBS may be related to severity of abdominal pain, symptom-related anxiety and bowel habit predominance, according to data presented at the 2012 Digestive Disease Week Annual Meeting.
Researchers evaluated data from 871 patients, including 374 with IBS and healthy controls. Participants completed questionnaires covering topics including demographics, GI and psychological symptoms, quality of life and non-GI somatic symptoms. The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and IBS and its symptoms, and what factors influence that relationship. Among patients with IBS, 23% reported IBS with constipation, 22% IBS with diarrhea and 55% IBS with a mix of symptoms.
While the mean BMI was significantly higher among patients with IBS than healthy controls (P=.022), when controlled for demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, education and age, the difference lost significance (P=.715). The median BMI was significantly associated with race/ethnicity (P<.001).
A negative correlation was determined between BMI and a quality of life (r=–0.27, P<.001), while positive correlations were found between BMI and abdominal pain ratings (r=0.15, P=.004) and GI symptom-specific anxiety (r=0.12, P=.027). Difference in BMI also was associated with bowel habit subtypes (P=.01), and participants with mixed IBS had significantly higher BMI than patients with IBS and constipation (2.04 unit difference, P=.005). No significant association was established between BMI and severity of non-GI somatic symptoms, and researcher Sharon Kim, MD, said these findings suggest BMI has an independent relationship with GI symptoms that is unrelated with comorbidities.
“BMI in IBS patients was associated differently based on different IBS bowel habit subtypes; mainly, the IBS mix subtype had higher BMI even after controlling for all demographic information,” Kim told Healio.com. “More research is needed, but if you have a [patient with] a mixed bowel subtype coming to you, it might be better to be more cognizant of their BMI than other subcategories. … And, if you see a patient with higher BMI, to be more cognizant of [whether] they’re suffering from higher ratings of abdominal pain.”
For more information:
Kim SE. #Tu1409: Body Mass Index (BMI) is Associated With Gastrointestinal Symptoms in a Racially and Ethnically Diverse IBS Patient Population. Presented at: the 2012 Digestive Disease Week Annual Meeting; May 19-22, San Diego.