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• Irritable bowel syndrome & depression are common comorbidities, however there is a wide variability regarding the appropriate treatment regimens for these patients.

• IBS is classified as a functional bowel disease in which patients suffer from recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort associated with alterations in bowel habits.

• While the cause of IBS is multifactorial, studies have revealed that the dysfunction of the brain-gut pathways are a culprit to disease appearance and progression, as seen in the biopsychosocial model of IBS. This model proposes that abdominal symptoms secondarily impact anxiety & depression symptoms and that psychological factors influence physiologic aspects such as motor functions, sensory threshold & stress reactivity of the gut through the vagal & sympathetic afferents.

• Due to the complexity of the causal mechanisms that produce symptoms of IBS with depression, there is some uncertainty regarding the best treatment regimen for these patients.

• Commonly, patients are advised to increase physical activity, reduce stress & implement dietary modifications. Pharmacotherapy may be advised for some, depending on their symptoms, & may include antidepressants, antispasmodics or laxatives.

• There is not a standardized method of treating IBS with comorbid depression, therefore symptom management must be performed on a patient-by-patient basis.


Physician Assistant Studies

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Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

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Comorbidity; Depressive Disorder -- complications; Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- etiology; Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- psychology; Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- therapy; Psychophysiologic Disorders


Digestive System Diseases | Psychiatric and Mental Health

Treatment Options for Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Comorbid Depression