Self-help guidebook improved quality of life for patients with irritable bowel syndrome

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Background: The primary aim of our study was to evaluate the impact of a comprehensive self-help guidebook on the disease related quality of life for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The secondary aim was to evaluate whether the guidebook is less effective in IBS patients with depression, somatization disorder or panic disorder as a psychiatric comorbidity. Methods: Prospective observational study. At baseline (t1), patients filled in the ´Functional Digestive Disorders Quality of Life´ (FDDQL) questionnaire and received the IBS guidebook together with an explanation of its content and use. Depression, anxiety and somatization were evaluated with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Three (t2) and six months (t3) later, the questionnaire was sent by mail to the patients for follow-up evaluation. Data were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA. Results: 71 patients participated (74.6% female). 53 (74.6%) completed the final assessment at t3 after 6 months. The global FDDQL score increased from 49.3 (SD 12.7) at t1 to 64.3 (SD 16.0) at t3 (p < 0.001). There was a significant between-subjects effect on the global FDDQL score related to depression (p = 0.001), anxiety (p = 0.001) and somatization (p = 0.011). Thus, the quality of life of patients with psychosomatic comorbidity was lower at baseline, but showed a similar increase within the following six months. Conclusion: The self-help guidebook significantly improved measured quality of life for IBS patients. The use of screening questionnaires like PHQ might be valuable to identify patients with more complex problems. This might be helpful for them to intensify and adapt therapy. Further research has to evaluate if patients with psychological comorbidity are treated more effectively when they receive psychotherapy or specific medication in addition to the self-management guidebook.




Schneider, A., Rosenberger, S., Bobardt, J., Bungartz-Catak, J., Atmann, O., Haller, B., … Enck, P. (2017). Self-help guidebook improved quality of life for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. PLoS ONE, 12(7).

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