For a study, researchers sought to describe the prevalence of IBS and other gastrointestinal problems in a sample of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to investigate the connections between gastrointestinal symptoms, the severity of PTSD, the severity of depression, and the number of previously reported traumatic events. Investigators looked at the initial results from a clinical trial that randomly assigned soldiers with PTSD to behavioral therapies. Veterans completed surveys evaluating past traumatic experiences and gastrointestinal problems (Gastrointestinal Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Information Systems; PROMIS). Multivariable regression analyses were conducted to investigate the relationships between gastrointestinal symptoms, the number of reported prior traumas, PTSD severity, and depression symptom severity. Around 184 veterans who had been given a PTSD diagnosis were included. About 25% of people had IBS and met the Rome III criteria. The percentage of veterans who reported experiencing stomach/abdominal pain (36%) as well as diarrhea (21%), constipation (18%), and bloating/gas (17%). When controlling for age and sex, the multivariable analysis found that more severe PTSD was linked to worse constipation (P=0.008), diarrhea (P=0.005), and gas/bloating (P=0.001). Abdominal/belly discomfort was more strongly correlated with the severity of depression symptoms (P=0.04). Rates of IBS and abdominal/belly discomfort were higher among a sample of PTSD-affected veterans than in the US population. Constipation and bloating/gas levels were lower than the average for the US population, but increasing PTSD severity was linked to more severe gastrointestinal symptoms.
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