Published online Jan 14, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i2.600
Peer-review started: May 10, 2014
First decision: July 8, 2014
Revised: July 29, 2014
Accepted: October 15, 2014
Article in press: October 15, 2014
Published online: January 14, 2015
AIM: To assess the long-term effects of physical activity on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and on quality of life, fatigue, depression and anxiety.
METHODS: Seventy-six patients from a previous randomized controlled interventional study on increased physical activity in IBS were asked to participate in this long-term follow-up study. The included patients attended one visit in which they filled out questionnaires and they underwent a submaximal cycle ergometer test. The primary end point was the change in the IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS) at baseline, i.e., before the intervention and at follow-up. The secondary endpoints were changes in quality of life, fatigue, depression and anxiety.
RESULTS: A total of 39 [32 women, median age 45 (28-61) years] patients were included in this follow-up. Median follow-up time was 5.2 (range: 3.8-6.2) years. The IBS symptoms were improved compared with baseline [IBS-SSS: 276 (169-360) vs 218 (82-328), P = 0.001]. This was also true for the majority of the dimensions of psychological symptoms such as disease specific quality of life, fatigue, depression and anxiety. The reported time of physical activity during the week before the visit had increased from 3.2 (0.0-10.0) h at baseline to 5.2 (0.0-15.0) h at follow-up, P = 0.019. The most common activities reported were walking, aerobics and cycling. There was no significant difference in the oxygen uptake 31.8 (19.7-45.8) mL per min per kg at baseline vs 34.6 (19.0-54.6) mL/min per kg at follow-up.
CONCLUSION: An intervention to increase physical activity has positive long-term effects on IBS symptoms and psychological symptoms.
Core tip: Increased physical activity for 12 wk has been shown to improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. This follow-up study found that the patients included in an intervention to increase physical activity show improvements in IBS symptoms, as well as different aspects of the disease specific quality of life, fatigue, depression and anxiety on the long term. The study supports the evidence for the positive effects of physical activity in IBS and defends physical activity as a treatment option for IBS.