Background and Aim: Gastrointestinal manifestations of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may mimic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and social distancing measures may affect IBS patients negatively. We aimed to study the impact of COVID-19 on respondents with self-reported IBS. Methods: We conducted an anonymized survey from May to June 2020 in 33 countries. Knowledge, attitudes, and practices on personal hygiene and social distancing as well as psychological impact of COVID-19 were assessed. Statistical analysis was performed to determine differences in well-being and compliance to social distancing measures between respondents with and without self-reported IBS. Factors associated with improvement or worsening of IBS symptoms were evaluated. Results: Out of 2704 respondents, 2024 (74.9%) did not have IBS, 305 (11.3%) had self-reported IBS, and 374 (13.8%) did not know what IBS was. Self-reported IBS respondents reported significantly worse emotional, social, and psychological well-being compared with non-IBS respondents and were less compliant to social distancing measures (28.2% vs 35.3%, P = 0.029); 61.6% reported no change, 26.6% reported improvement, and 11.8% reported worsening IBS symptoms. Higher proportion of respondents with no change in IBS symptoms were willing to practice social distancing indefinitely versus those who deteriorated (74.9% vs 51.4%, P = 0.016). In multivariate analysis, willingness to continue social distancing for another 2–3 weeks (vs longer period) was significantly associated with higher odds of worsening IBS. Conclusion: Our study showed that self-reported IBS respondents had worse well-being and compliance to social distancing measures than non-IBS respondents. Future research will focus on occupational stress and dietary changes during COVID-19 that may influence IBS.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2021|
- Social distancing