Other Non-Digestive Disorders Associated with IBS

IBS is common in several chronic pain disorders, including fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and chronic fatigue syndrome.1,2 These are considered non-gastrointestinal (non-GI) functional pain syndromes. GI and Non-GI functional disorders are commonly present within the same person. These disorders may share a common cause, which include enhanced pain perception, changes in brain response, and changes in immune and neuroendocrine function. Since the disorders may be caused by similar factors, some of the treatments may also be similar. The treatments that IBS has in common with certain non-gastrointestinal functional disorders include antidepressants and psychological and behavioral therapies.2


Fibromyalgia is a chronic and widespread pain that is typically associated with fatigue, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and loss of intellectual functions.2 According to the World Gastroenterology Organization, approximately 20%-50% of IBS patients have fibromyalgia.1 There is a higher prevalence in women, which increases with age.2

Temporomandibular joint disorder

TMJ includes symptoms related to pain of the temporomandibular joint and surrounding areas.2 The temporomandibular joint is like a hinge in the jaw area that lets you move your jaw in various motions for talking, chewing, and yawning. IBS is present in 64% of people with TMJ.1

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue is described as a permanent and intense fatigue of unknown cause that limits a person’s ability to function. These symptoms persist for at least 6 months and do not improve with rest.IBS is present in 50% of people with chronic pelvic pain.1

Other non-GI symptoms

Sleep disturbances were found in 28% to 74% of people with IBS. Urinary symptoms, including frequency, urgency, nocturia, and incomplete bladder emptying sensation were found in about 50% of people with IBS.1 Other non-GI symptoms found among people with IBS include chronic pelvic pain and tension headaches.1,3

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Written by: Truc Thanh | Last reviewed: June 2016.