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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Irritable bowel symptoms, use of healthcare, costs, sickness and disability pension benefits: A long-term population-based study

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OBJECTIVES: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is associated with increased healthcare use and work absenteeism. We aimed to investigate long-term use of healthcare services and social benefits across IBS symptom groups. Additionally, we estimated excess healthcare costs.

METHODS: A longitudinal population-based study comprising two 5-year follow-up studies: The Danish part of the Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease (Dan-MONICA) 1 (1982-1987) and Inter99 (1999-2004) recruited from the western part of Copenhagen County. The total study population ( n = 7278) was divided into symptom groups according to degree of IBS definition fulfillment at baseline and/or 5-year follow-up and was followed until 31 December 2013 in Danish central registries. Poisson regression was used for the analyses adjusting for age, sex, length of education, comorbidity, cohort membership and mental vulnerability.

RESULTS: IBS symptom groups compared to no IBS symptoms were associated with an increased number of contacts with primary and secondary healthcare, as well as weeks on sickness and disability benefits. Accounting for mental vulnerability decreased the estimates and all but two associations between IBS symptom groups and outcomes remained statistically significant. The two associations that became insignificant were contacts with psychiatric hospitals and weeks on disability pension. The excess unadjusted healthcare costs for IBS were 680 Euros per year and the overall association between symptom groups and total healthcare costs were statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS: IBS symptoms influence the long-term use and costs of healthcare, as well as the use of social benefits in the general population. Mental vulnerability explained some, but not all, of the use of healthcare and social benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesScandinavian Journal of Public Health. Supplement
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)867-875
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 54769048