In a systematic review, researchers aimed to explain the relationship between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and extraintestinal manifestations, as well as mechanisms and treatments of the extraintestinal manifestations. Of 630 identified publications using search terms including extraintestinal manifestations or somatization and IBS through PubMed, 80 publications were included in this review. Results were published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology.

Of all patients with IBS, approximately half have extraintestinal manifestations along with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. The most common symptoms in women were somatic pain, fatigue, and sleeping disturbances. It was also found that psychological distress and extraintestinal manifestations are linked with amplified GI symptoms, worse quality of life, and hardships in treating symptoms of IBS. A surplus of healthcare costs is also seen with extraintestinal manifestations. Researchers noted that extraintestinal symptoms are rarely documented in clinical healthcare or in the examination of treatment outcomes. Strong patient-provider relationships along with strong coping mechanisms have resulted in a decrease of GI symptoms, psychological distress, and somatization. Extraintestinal and GI symptoms can be improved with lifestyle habits, but if this fails, pharmacological therapy may be considered.

Reference: Ohlsson B. Extraintestinal manifestations in irritable bowel syndrome: A systematic review. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2022;15:17562848221114558. doi:10.1177/17562848221114558