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Irritable Bowel Syndrome The Focus Of Three UNC-CH Reports At Digestive Diseases Conference

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Drs. Douglas A. Drossman and William E. Whitehead, co-directors of the UNC Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, are senior authors of three scientific reports on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), slated for presentation at this year's American Gastroenterology Society Digestive Diseases Week meetings, May 16-19 in Orlando, Fla. Functional GI and motility disorders affect large numbers of people and are characterized by persistent or recurrent symptoms not explained by structural or biochemical abnormalities. Survey results show that 69 percent of all adults meet criteria for one or more of these disorders. Summaries of the reports to be given at the conference follow.

History Of Sexual And Physical Abuse Tied To Depression And Suicide Risk In Irritable Bowel Syndrome

CHAPEL HILL - People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who report having been abused sexually or physically - especially those who were abused sexually during childhood - may be at increased risk of depression and suicide, according to a study led by researchers at UNC-CH School of Medicine.

The study team, headed by Dr. William Whitehead, professor of medicine and co-director of the UNC Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, also confirmed earlier findings of a strong link between childhood sexual abuse and the development of IBS during adulthood. "Physicians should recognize the discovery of abuse in IBS patients as a marker that the patient is at significant risk for depression and suicide," Whitehead says. "These patients may require assessment and perhaps referral to mental health services."

The study analyzed questionnaire responses of 389 patients at gastroenterology clinics in Washington and North Carolina. All forms of abuse, in childhood or adulthood, were significantly associated with self-reported depression and self-reported suicide attempts. Prior studies using i
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Contact: Lynn Wooten
LWooten@unch.unc.edu
919-966-6046
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
12-May-1999


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