Brian E. Lacy, MD, PhD: IBS-C Symptoms During COVID-19

A large proportion of IBS-C patients did not seek health care during the COVID-19 pandemic despite symptoms.

There is considerable disease burden for patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) that was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In data presented during the 2021 Digestive Disease Week (DDW) Virtual Meeting, a team of researchers led by Brian E. Lacy, MD, PhD, Gastroenterology, Neurogastroenterology, the Mayo Clinic, examined how the pandemic shaped disease presentation and health care utilization.

The researchers used a sampling of 130 IBS-C patients with 130 control patients between August and October 2020 and found more than a third of surveyed IBS-C patients indicated worsening symptoms during the duration of the pandemic and a quarter of patients cancelling health care visits during the study period.

The investigators also found 46% of IBS-C patients did not seek healthcare in the previous year because of their symptoms.

However, more IBS-C patients reported a higher proportion of moderate-to-severe anxiety and depression and a lower health-related quality of life.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Lacy explained the results of the survey and why it is troubling that this patient population did not largely seek care during the pandemic despite reports of worsening symptoms.

Lacy also discussed how the pandemic may permanently impact both medical research and how diseases are cared for in the future.