Can Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Reduce the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Women?

Department of Psychology, School of Psychology and Education Science, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Psychology and Education Science, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Psychology and Education Science, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Psychology and Education Science, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

Associate Professor, Psychosomatic Research Center AND Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Associate Professor, Integrative Functional Gastroenterology Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Abstract

Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract caused by stress, which may benefit from a biopsychosocial treatment such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). The thrust of the study was to examine the efficacy of MBCT on physical and psychological symptoms of women who suffered from IBS. It was hypothesized that MBCT patients would experience greater reduction in overall IBS symptoms in comparison to control patients.

Methods: This survey was conducted in Isfahan, Iran, to investigate the impact of MBCT on a group of Iranian women diagnosed with IBS. In this quasi-experimental study 20 women with the diagnosis of IBS were randomly and equally assigned to experimental and control groups. Severity of IBS was measured by the IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS) while the patients’ psychopathology was assessed by Symptom Checklist 90-R (SCL-90-R). The experimental group was exposed to 8 sessions of MBCT on a weekly basis; each session lasting 90 minutes. Data were analyzed using SPSS software and MANCOVA.

Results: A significant reduction was noted in anxiety, depression, and somatization symptoms after the intervention and in anxiety and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) at follow-up (p < 0.05). However, during the follow-up there was no significant progress in the level of somatization and depression. Apparently our treatment modality did not have any impact on the severity of physical symptoms.

Conclusion: Psychological symptoms of IBS can be managed largely with the help of MBCT, resulting in the promotion of mental health in women afflicted by this disorder.

Keywords


  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Physical symptoms
  • Psychological symptoms
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

Full Text


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