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Abstract

Background

Chronic pruritus is an important distressing condition that is often refractory to treatment. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that occurs without an organic cause.

Objectives

We aimed to investigate the relationship between chronic pruritus of undetermined origin (CPUO) and IBS.

Methods

Eighty patients with chronic pruritus (CP) of undetermined origin and fifty healthy control subjects without pruritus were included into the study. All of the participants were examined by a gastroenterologist for concomitant IBS.

Results

The frequency of IBS was found higher in patients with CP of undetermined origin (P: 0.02), but we did not observe any significant association between pruritus intensity and either presence of IBS (P: 0.08) or the subtypes of the syndrome (P: 0.40). Furthermore, patients with CP of undetermined origin between 40 and 60 years, female gender and longer duration of the disease were found to be significantly associated with the presence of IBS (P: 0.02, P: 0.01 and P < 0.001).

Conclusions

We found that the frequency of IBS was higher in patients with CP than in healthy controls. Our study is the first report about the relation between CP of undetermined origin and IBS. Further studies with larger numbers of the patients are needed to show association between IBS and CPUO using laboratory tests to define underlying diseases such as lactose intolerance, functional dyspepsia and emotional diseases.