Background

The prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-like symptoms is high in untreated patients with microscopic colitis (MC), but there is uncertainty of the prevalence of IBS-like symptoms in treated patients. We assessed the degree of IBS-like symptoms in patients with MC in comparison to control subjects, and investigated the association between IBS-like symptoms and faecal calprotectin (FC) in MC patients.

Methods

Patients with an established MC diagnosis (n =57) were compared to sex- and age-matched controls (n =138) for scores in the GSRS-IBS (Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale for Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and HADS (Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale). In MC patients, an FC level was simultaneously analysed.

Results

The median interval from MC diagnoses to the time the subjects participated in the study was 5.5 years (25th–75th percentiles; 4.5–9.5 years). The total GSRS-IBS score, subscores for abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea were significantly higher in MC patients compared to controls (all P <0.001). There was a significant correlation between FC levels and reported bowel frequency (P =0.023), but there was no correlation between FC levels and GSRS-IBS scores. Patients with MC had significantly higher scores on anxiety (HADS-A) (P <0.001) and used more selective serotonin-reuptake-inhibitor drugs (P =0.016) than the control subjects. However, only the control subjects (not the patients with MC) showed significant correlations between GSRS-IBS scores and HADS scores.

Conclusions

Patients with MC reported more IBS-like symptoms and anxiety than control subjects but neither FC levels nor symptoms of affectivity were significantly correlated with IBS-like symptoms.

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