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IBS Hints At Migraine, Fibromyalgia, & Depression — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 16, 2008 at 11:05 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

IBS Hints At Migraine, Fibromyalgia, & Depression


It's interesting how as we learn more about health conditions, we discover many of them are linked together. Few would have thought migraines, depression and fibromyalgia could be linked to IBS, but in many ways each condition can trigger others. People who suffer from IBS and at least one of these other conditions know this is an all too serious issue.

IBS Hints at Migraine, Fibromyalgia, and Depression

A 2006 study published in BMC Gastroenterology reported an interesting link between IBS and the prevalence of migraines, fibromyalgia and depression. While we have known previously the correlation between IBS and depression, the addition of migraines and fibromyalgia was a surprise. J. Alexander Cole, D.Sc., M.P.H., and colleagues of Boston University studied the insurance records and databases of medical and pharmacy claims of 97,593 people who had IBS between 1996 and 2002. They compared this group to a control group of non-IBS sufferers from the same insurance company. 75% of the IBS group were women; 50% of the control group were women. All participants were between the ages of 18 and 65, distributed equally in both groups.

Prevalence of Migraine, Fibromyalgia, and Depression Among Those With IBS

The study showed that 264 people per 1,000 of the IBS group had either migraines, fibromyalgia or depression, while only 46 people per 1,000 of the control group did. Depression was the most common of the three, at 128 people per 1,000 versus 60 per 1,000 of the non-IBS group.

Specific Data

Specifically, those with IBS were 1.6 times more likely to have one of the three other factors (migraine, fibromyalgia or depression). People with IBS are:

  • 1.8 times more likely to have Fibromyalgia
  • 1.6 times more likely to have Migraines
  • 1.4 times more likely to have Depression than those who do not have IBS.

Another way to look at it is that the study showed that people with IBS are 40% more likely to have depression, 60% more likely to have migraines, and 80% more likely to have fibromyalgia.

Treatment for IBS

While we do not know what causes IBS, we do know that many factors may potentially trigger a flare up of symptoms. Stress and mood-related disorders have been known to trigger irritable bowel flare ups. Doctors recommend comprehensive treatment for those with IBS, addressing diet, exercise, lifestyle and therapy. Medication may be used if needed. Fibromyalgia, migraines and depression seem to be linked somehow. All can be triggered or worsened by stress, anxiety, mental illness and lifestyle. Many people seek alternative treatments after talking with their doctor. If you experience IBS in addition to migraines, depression or fibromyalgia, be sure to seek professional treatment.


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