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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 17, Issue 4, Pages 259-263
Original Article

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Health-Related Quality of Life: A Population-Based Study in Calgary, Alberta

Feng Xiao Li,1 Scott B Patten,1,3 Robert J Hilsden,1,2 and Lloyd R Sutherland1,2

1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
3Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Received 24 September 2002; Revised 24 February 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Little is known about the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of nonclinical samples of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in Canada. In a pilot survey, the impact of IBS on HRQOL using a population-based, urban sample was examined.

METHODS: A random sample of Calgary residents (18 years of age or older), selected by random digit dialing (n=1521), completed a structured questionnaire including ROME II Criteria and Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 12-Item Health Survey, version 2 (SF-12v2). The mean scale and summary scores of SF-12v2 for those who did and did not meet ROME II criteria and for those who met ROME II criteria with and without visiting a physician in past three months were determined and compared using multiple regression analyses.

RESULTS: Of the 951 households successfully contacted, 590 (62%) were willing to participate, of which 437 (74%) individuals were recruited. One hundred ten IBS cases (81 of which were women) and 327 non-IBS controls (180 of which were women) were identified. All of the eight mean scale scores and the two mean summary scores were significantly lower in people with IBS than in those without, whether or not adjusting for demographics. Forty-four of the 110 IBS cases (40%) sought medical help. Significantly lower mean physical component score and three scale scores (general health, social functioning and role physical) were found in those who sought medical help than in those who did not.

CONCLUSIONS: People with IBS experience significant impairment in HRQOL, including both physical and mental well-being. People with IBS who seek medical help report worse physical health than those who do not, but their mental health is no different.