A Randomized Trial of a Group-Based Integrative Medicine Approach Compared to Waitlist Control on Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms in Adults

Elizabeth McDonald, Raymond Teets, Caroline Ortiz, Christine Gilchrist, Eve Waltermaurer, Elidania Perez, Benjamin Kligler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic debilitating functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects a large proportion of the general population. Dietary and mind-body approaches have shown some effectiveness in reducing IBS symptoms. Objectives: The purpose of this project was to test the feasibility of a low cost, group-oriented integrative medicine approach to IBS, and to explore whether such an approach improves participant outcomes. Methods: This was a randomized-controlled trial involving a 4-week group-oriented treatment intervention combining dietary intervention and mind-body therapies followed by 8-weeks of telephonic health coaching. Differences between the intervention and control groups on IBS-specific measures were examined at baseline, 4, 8, and 12-week. Results: Fifty-two participants completed the study, 30 in the control group and 22 in the intervention group. On the IBS Symptom Severity Score, at 4 weeks the intervention group showed statistically significant improvement compared to the control group (p <.02), which was sustained at the 8 and 12-week data points as well, with the proportion of the intervention group experiencing moderate to severe symptoms decreasing from 81.3% at baseline to 45% at week 4 and 54.5% at week 12. A statistically significant improvement was also seen on the CES-D measure of depression between baseline and week 12 in the intervention group compared to controls. On the IBS Quality of Life measure we did not observe a statistically significant difference between the groups. Conclusions: This low-cost, group-oriented intervention approach offers a strategy to address the challenge of access to this type of integrative approach for patients of low socioeconomic status or limited means.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-413
Number of pages8
JournalExplore
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Complementary medicine
  • Health coaching
  • Integrative medicine
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Mind/body medicine
  • Nutrition

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