Effects of Self-Management Interventions in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Systematic Review

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent and costly condition, with expenditures exceeding US$21 billion annually. As there is no known cure for IBS, treatment is focused on symptom self-management strategies. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the efficacy and overall effect of self-management interventions for patients with IBS. Of the 64 publications that were identified, 20 were included in the systematic review. Self-management interventions were found in diverse formats, including web-based, self-training booklets, individual and/or group interventions with health care providers, and cognitive-behavioral therapy or exercise-based interventions. Different symptom measures were used across the studies, whereas measurement of quality of life was more standardized. Overall, there is robust evidence supporting self-management interventions for improving short-term symptom management and improving quality of life, whereas longer term outcomes are variable. Further studies are needed to use standardized symptom measures and tailor interventions for pediatric populations, and tracking longer term outcomes.

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