Understanding the complexity of IBS patients in primary care

stress, symptom burden, comorbidity and intervention

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disease in primary health care. Quality of life in IBS patients is impaired with the illness seriously affecting everyday life. The pathophysiology is not yet completely clear but there is a known association with stress.

In my research I wish to contribute to a better understanding of this disease and to a future better primary care for these patients. I am doing so as part of the TWIBS-project. Through measures of cortisol levels in hair we look at stress hormones over time and can relate that to perceived stress among IBS patients and controls. Further we test the hypothesis that the symptom burden is associated to levels of cortisol in hair and perceived stress and that positive self-esteem and superior coping strategies have a protective effect in terms of stress and quality of life despite the symptom burden. We also investigate whether IBS with excess comorbidity is a more serious disease with heavier symptom burden and altered levels of cortisol. Throughout these studies we look upon the social environment through twin cities as a possible moderator.

Further I hope to set up an interventional study including IBS patients in primary care

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