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Keywords:

  • bulimia nervosa;
  • eating disorders;
  • functional gastrointestinal disorders;
  • irritable bowel syndrome

Abstract

Objective:

This study examined the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in patients with bulimia nervosa (BN), and the relationship between these disorders.

Method:

Sixty-four participants with a diagnosis of BN or a related condition were recruited from an outpatient eating disorders service. Questionnaire and interview measures were used to assess bulimic symptoms and attitudes, IBS symptoms, anxiety and depression. Cases of IBS were identified using the Manning criteria.

Results:

There was a high prevalence of IBS in the patient group (68.8%), but IBS status was not predicted by any of the other variables measured. Patients who met criteria for IBS reported more frequent self-induced vomiting than those who did not (U = 256.0, p = 0.038).

Discussion:

There is evidence of an high incidence of IBS in outpatients with BN, but the relationship between these conditions remains unclear. Future research should consider possible common risk factors. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.