Comorbidities in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome With Constipation or Chronic Idiopathic Constipation:

A Review of the Literature From the Past Decade

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Dave Nellesen, PhD; Anita Chawla, PhD; Debora L. Oh, PhD; Taryn Weissman, MD; B.J. Lavins, MD; Christopher W. Murray, PhD

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Postgraduate Medicine:

Volume 125 No. 2


Clinical Features

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DOI: 10.3810/pgm.2013.03.2640
Background: Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) are common functional bowel disorders. Patients with IBS-C or CIC often present with ≥ 1 comorbidity that coincides with either of these conditions. These comorbidities may make underappreciated contributions to the patient’s overall disease burden. Objective: To identify the comorbidities that are the most frequently reported in patients with IBS-C or CIC in the medical literature. Methods: A literature search (January 2001–March 2012) was performed using the Medline and Medline In-Process databases. Studies of adult patients with IBS-C or CIC were selected, and the prevalence rates of the comorbidities were extracted and analyzed according to the body system affected. Results: A total of 70 distinct comorbidities were identified from 35 published studies. These comorbidities involved several body systems, including the gastrointestinal, genitourinary, psychiatric, endocrine, and allergic or immunologic systems. Functional dyspepsia and depression were the most common comorbidities in patients with IBS-C, whereas functional dyspepsia, diabetes, and depression were the most common comorbidities in patients with CIC. Conclusion: Patients with IBS-C or CIC frequently experience a wide range of comorbidities that contribute to their disease burden. Thus, we believe that medical professionals should consider common comorbidities when diagnosing and treating patients with IBS-C or CIC.

Keywords: irritable bowel syndrome; chronic constipation; comorbidities; disease burden