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The Prevalence, Humanistic Burden, and Health Care Impact of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Among United States Veterans.

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.

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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.

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