Could shift work be a cause of IBS?

Dr Willemijntje Hoogerwerf and colleagues, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied 399 nurses working rotating shifts to see whether their shift patterns affected bowel habit and IBS symptoms (constipation and diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping and bloating).

A total of 214 nurses worked straight days (mainly the older nurses), 110 worked straight nights, and 75 rotated between day and night shifts. Overall, 48% working rotating shifts reported symptoms of IBS, as did 40% of those working straight nights whereas only around 31% working straight days had IBS symptoms, although even that was more than the 20% which might be expected in the general population.

The researchers for our poor sleep habits and daytime sleepiness were all more common among nurses with IBS, regardless of their work shift.

Based on these results, Hoogerwerf questions whether IBS results from "an underlying biological rhythm disorder of the intestine."

American Journal of Gastroenterology, published online February 16, 2010.

Courtesy of Reuters


Click here for more research on IBS

First Published in March 2010

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