Impact of Depressive Symptoms on Visceral Sensitivity Among Patients With Different Subtypes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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The etiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is complex and multifaceted. Psychosocial factors play a role in such a process. Several reports suggest that IBS patients have increased psychopathology scores as compared with population controls. The influence of depressive symptoms on rectal sensitivity thresholds vary across different studies. The influence of predominant bowel habits on rectal sensitivity thresholds as determined by barostat-based investigations is not well established. The present report aimed to investigate the influence of depressive symptoms on rectal sensitivity in different subtypes of IBS patients (diarrhea/constipation-predominant vs. alternating subtypes). Depressive symptoms correlated well with first pain sensitivity threshold in alternating patients (n = 8; [ρ] = −0.77; p = 0.02) but not in diarrhea/constipation predominant symptoms (n = 11; [ρ] = −0.44; p = 0.27). These data suggest that depressive symptoms might impact pain thresholds differently according to the subtype of IBS.

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