Gastrointestinal Manifestations of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): Symptom Perceptions and Quality of Life.

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Objectives: This study examines the differences in symptoms and Quality of Life (QOL) among patients presenting to a gastrointestinal (GI) service with combinations of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and GI complaints.

Methods: We conducted a clinical examination of patients from a private GI practice and divided them into three groups: A combination group consisting of patients diagnosed with both CFS and functional bowel disease (FBD) (Group 1, n = 5); those positively diagnosed with CFS, who also reported GI symptoms, but without a prior GI diagnosis (Group 2, n = 6); and those with FBD, but without a diagnosis of CFS (Group 3, n = 11). These groups were prospective-ly surveyed, using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) and the Symptom Index Survey (SIS).

Results: Data indicate CFS patients report more symptoms than non-CFS patients, as measured by the SIS, in these areas: Allergies, Digestive Tract, Ears, Eyes, Head, Immune, Joints/Muscles and Metabolism/Endocrine. SF-36 data indicated lower QOL for CFS patients compared to FBD alone (Group 3) patients in the General Health and Energy/Fatigue subscales.

Conclusions: CFS patients with GI complaints demonstrate a significant relationship between both diagnoses. Since the observed differences occur between Groups 1 and 3, both with GI diagnoses, this indicates that these differences are a result of the presence or absence of CFS. Also, since these differences occur between CFS/FBD and FBD-only, the classification of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be modified to include a subset of patients who have a combination of CFS and IBS. Key Words:





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Medical Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine Faculty

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