Background: Distress is well recognized as endemic in cancer populations: less is known about distress in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Purpose: This study compared distress between individuals with IBS (n=51) and those with cancer (n=147) participating in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Methods: Patients completed mood and symptoms of stress questionnaires pre- and post- MBSR intervention as well as at 6-month follow-up. Results: The IBS group demonstrated higher baseline total symptoms of stress and more muscle tension, sympathetic nervous system arousal, and neurological/GI symptoms. They also had higher baseline tension/anxiety scores on the mood measure. While both groups decreased significantly post-MBSR on total stress symptoms and mood disturbance scores, the IBS group showed a small increase in stress symptoms between post-program and 6-month follow-up. Conclusions: These findings highlight the high levels of distress associated with IBS, and support evidence that MBSR may be beneficial in reducing both IBS and cancer related distress.
Mindfulness Meditation, Cancer, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, MBSR