Does Irritable Bowel Syndrome Occur More Commonly in the Setting of Endometriosis?

According to a recent study (AD DiVasta et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021; 19: 528-537. Overlap Between Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosis and Endometriosis in Adolescents), adolescents with surgically-confirmed endometriosis are at increased risk for irritable bowel syndrome.

This study derived data from a longitudinal cohort; the sample for this study followed women with and without endometriosis who completed extensive surveys (n=323) and excluded women with celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Cases of IBS were based on patient reports of Rome IV criteria, though 81% were confirmed via medical record review.

Key findings:

  • “More adolescents with endometriosis (54 of 224; 24%) had comorbid IBS compared with adolescents without endometriosis (7 of 99; 7.1%). The odds of IBS was 5.26-fold higher among participants with endometriosis than without (95% CI, 2.13ā€“13.0).”
  • “For participants with endometriosis, each 1-point increase in acyclic pain severity increased the odds of IBS by 31% (adjusted odds ratio, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.18ā€“1.47).”

The association of endometriosis with IBS was based on Rome IV criteria, as such, the authors assert that this is “not merely a diagnostic bias” However, some of the increase may be related to referral patterns.

Useful points:

  • “In the adult literature, pain in the pelvis, menstrual-related symptoms, symptoms related to sexual intercourse, ovarian cysts, and subfertility seem to distinguish women with endometriosis from other GI conditions.”
  • “Chronic pain syndromes were more prevalent in girls with endometriosis and IBS. Rates of migraine headaches, sleep disturbance, and urinary symptoms were higher…[and] had higher prevalence rates of mood disturbance.”

Why is there overlap between these disorders?

  • The authors speculate that “the inflammatory process likely plays a role…and central pain sensitization may play a crucial role in the two diseases”

My take: Adolescents with endometriosis have a higher likelihood of IBS. Acyclic pain is a strong predictor of IBS.

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Related humor: YouTube Link: SNL IBS Ad (4/10/21) Very funny!