Effects of a health program comprising reassurance and patient education, diet management, administration of probiotics and regular exercise on symptoms and quality of life in patients with IBS were investigated. A total of 143 patients (95% women and 5% men), with an average age of 32 years (range, 18-58 years), were included in the study. Ninety-six of these patients had diarrhea and 47 had constipation as the predominant symptom. The patients went through a program combining reassurance and IBS education, guidance in diet management, intake of probiotics, and regular exercise. The patients were asked to complete the Birmingham IBS symptom score questionnaire, the SF-36 questionnaire and the IBS-quality of life (IBS-QoL) questionnaire before starting the program and three, six, 12 and 24 months after completing the program. The total score of symptoms, as well as all the 3 dimensions (pain, diarrhea and constipation), were diminished significantly at all observation times after completing the program. The total score of quality of life, as assessed by the SF-36 questionnaire and by the IBS-QoL questionnaire, was significantly improved at all observation times after completing the program. This improvement included all health concepts of the SF-36 and all the domains of the IBS-QoL except physical and mental role limitations, food avoidance and sexual relations. There was no statistical difference between patients with IBS with diarrhea- or constipation-predominant symptoms. Combining reassurance and patient education, diet management, probiotics administration and regular exercise in a health program improves symptoms and quality of life in patients with IBS.
IBS; symptom score; quality of life, probiotics; reassurance