Quality of Life Research

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 435–446 | Cite as

Quality of life of patients with irritable bowel syndrome in Korea

  • Jae Myung Park
  • Myung-Gyu ChoiEmail author
  • Yong Sung Kim
  • Chang Hwan Choi
  • Suck Chei Choi
  • Su Jin Hong
  • Jeong Jo Jeong
  • Dong Ho Lee
  • Joon Seong Lee
  • Kwang Jae Lee
  • Hee Jung Son
  • In Kyung Sung



The impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on HRQOL has been widely studied in the West. However, there are few data from Asian countries. The aim of this study was to assess the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients suffering from IBS in Korea.


Consecutive patients from six secondary and six tertiary medical centers in Korea were enrolled and completed self-administered questionnaires on sociodemographics and IBS-associated symptoms. HRQOL was assessed using the generic Short Form 36 (SF-36) and the disease-specific IBS-QOL questionnaires.


Of the 932 patients with abdominal pain and bowel symptoms, 664 IBS patients who fulfilled the Rome II criteria were analyzed. On all eight SF-36 scales, IBS patients had a significantly worse HRQOL than the general population (P < 0.01). The overall score for the IBS-QOL was 74.2. The health concern domain was most affected (mean score 64.2), and the sexual domain (mean score 86.7) was least affected in the IBS-QOL. Significant impairment of HRQOL was only observed in patients with severe symptoms both in the generic and specific HRQOL measurement, whereas patients with mild and moderate symptoms showed only mild impairment (P < 0.01). Female patients reported a significantly lower HRQOL than male patients (P < 0.05), but the difference was minimal. The IBS-QOL was significantly associated with female gender, total symptom score, self-reported symptom severity, and level of education in the multivariate analysis.


IBS-related symptoms had a great effect on the HRQOL of Korean patients. These results and the considerable prevalence of IBS in Korea indicate that IBS has a substantial social impact in this country.


Irritable bowel syndrome Quality of life Symptom SF-36 IBS-QOL 



Irritable bowel syndrome


Constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome


Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome


Mixed type irritable bowel syndrome


Quality of life


Short Form 36


Irritable bowel syndrome-quality of life measure




Health-related quality of life


Analysis of variance



We thank Donald L. Patrick for kindly consenting to the use of the IBS-QOL in Korea.


This work was funded by grants from The Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Korea.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jae Myung Park
    • 1
  • Myung-Gyu Choi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yong Sung Kim
    • 4
  • Chang Hwan Choi
    • 3
  • Suck Chei Choi
    • 4
  • Su Jin Hong
    • 7
  • Jeong Jo Jeong
    • 1
  • Dong Ho Lee
    • 6
  • Joon Seong Lee
    • 7
  • Kwang Jae Lee
    • 8
  • Hee Jung Son
    • 2
  • In Kyung Sung
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of MedicineThe Catholic University of KoreaSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineSamsung Medical CenterSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineChung-Ang UniversitySeoulKorea
  4. 4.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineWonkwang UniversityIksanKorea
  5. 5.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineKonkuk UniversitySeoulKorea
  6. 6.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  7. 7.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineSooncheonhyang UniversitySeoulKorea
  8. 8.Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal MedicineAjou UniversitySuwonKorea

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