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Shin A, Xu H, Imperiale TF. The Prevalence, Humanistic Burden, and Health Care Impact of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Among United States Veterans. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. 2023 Apr 1; 21(4):1061-1069.e1.
BACKGROUND and AIMS: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in veterans is understudied. This study sought to investigate (1) prevalence of IBS; (2) phenotypic, environmental, and psychosocial factors associated with IBS; and (3) associations of IBS with health-related quality of life and health care use. METHODS: From June 2018 to April 2020, we invited veterans to complete the Rome IV IBS questionnaire; Short Form-12; posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) checklist; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; and questionnaires on general health, antibiotic use, infectious enteritis (IE), and health care use. RESULTS: Among 858 veteran respondents, 244 (28.4%) met Rome IV IBS criteria (47.5% IBS with diarrhea, 16.8% IBS with constipation, 33.6% mixed IBS). IBS was associated with greater anxiety and depression and lower quality of life (all P < .001). Provisional PTSD, IE, and bowel problems after antibiotics were more common in IBS (all P < .001) as were multiple doctor visits (P < .01) and hospitalizations (P = .04). Comparisons across non-IBS and IBS subgroups revealed overall associations of psychological comorbidities (P < .01), multiple doctor visits (P < .01), hospitalizations (P = .03), IE (P < .01), and bowel problems after IE (P = .03) or antibiotics (P < .01) with subgroup. Highest anxiety and depression scores, PTSD, multiple doctor visits, hospitalizations, and bowel problems after IE were observed in IBS with constipation. In adjusted analyses, IBS was associated (all P < .001) with anxiety (odds ratio [OR], 3.47), depression (OR, 2.88), lower quality of life, PTSD (OR, 3.09), IE (OR, 4.44), bowel problems after antibiotics (OR, 1.84), multiple doctor visits (OR, 2.08), and hospitalizations (OR, 1.78). CONCLUSIONS: IBS is prevalent among veterans and has a measurable impact on individuals and health care resources. Veterans with IBS may experience significant psychological impairment.