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Title: Irritable bowel syndrome and endometriosis: is there a connection?
Author: Issa, Basma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 8730
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an extremely common condition affecting approximately 10-15% of the population. Lower abdominal pain is a common feature and, if the patient also has gynaecological symptoms such as heavy periods, they may be referred to a gynaecologist especially when the bowel symptoms are relatively mild. In this setting a laparoscopy is often undertaken and endometriosis commonly identified as this condition affects up to 10% of women. Consequently pain is frequently attributed to the endometriosis even when it is relatively mild. However it is a common observation amongst gynaecologists that women with mild endometriosis often have severe symptoms which do not seem to respond well to treatment. This raises the possibility that their pain may not actually be due to endometriosis or is being amplified by the visceral hypersensitivity which is a characteristic feature of irritable bowel syndrome.Methods: 20 patients with minimal-mild endometriosis, 20 with moderate-severe endometriosis, 20 healthy volunteers (HV) who have had laparoscopy for sterilisation, 20 IBS patients and 20 patients with pain who were found to have a normal pelvis (on laparoscopy) were studied. Gastrointestinal, gynaecological, and noncolonic symptoms were recorded as well as demography, quality of life and psychological status. Visceral sensitivity was assessed in all patients and abdominal distension was studied in a sub group of 26 endometriosis patients and 20 IBS patients.Results: 20 (100%) of IBS patients, 13 (65%) of minimal-mild endometriosis patients, 11 (55%) of moderate-severe endometriosis patients, 17 (85%) of laparoscopic negative pain patients and no healthy volunteers fulfilled ROME III criteria for IBS. Patients with endometriosis and IBS had similar levels of visceral sensitivity which were significantly lower than that observed in controls (p=0·002, p<0·001).In particular, both minimal-mild and moderate-severe endometriosis patients had significantly lower (mean-95% CI) pain thresholds in mmHg 28.1(24.5, 31.6) and 28.8(24.9, 32.6) respectively compared with controls 39·5 (36·0, 43·0) p=0.001and p=0.002. However, with few exceptions, there were no distinguishing features between patients in terms of demography, symptomatology and distension.Conclusion: Clinically, it is very difficult to distinguish between endometriosis and IBS. However, visceral hypersensitivity appears to be a major component of endometriosis and may explain the problem of excessive pain especially in patients with mild disease offering a potential new target for treatment
Supervisor: Whorwell, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Irritable Bowel Syndrome ; IBS ; Visceral Sensitivity ; Endometriosis ; Pelvic Pain ; Abdominal Pain ; GI ; Distension ; Bloating ; Gynaecological ; Gastrointestinal