Irritable bowel syndrome and the relationship with mental health and sleep


By: Dr Ian C Dunican (Adjunct Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University) and Tina Yan (PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects 10-15% of the adult population 1. It is characterised by recurrent abdominal pain with alterations in bowel habits, coexisting bloating, flatulence, and abdominal distention. Research suggests that 44% of IBS patients have associated mental health issues, including depression and anxiety 2, with a further 37% reporting sleep problems  3-5. Due to these chronic symptoms and frequent comorbid conditions, IBS has imposed a heavy burden on both individuals and communities both economically and socially 6 7. In the United States (US), it was estimated that IBS was attributed directly to medical costs up to $10 bn per year 8.

The gut health team at Edith Cowan University are conducting research identifying if fibre supplementation can improve gut microbiota, sleep, and mental health in people with IBS. Based on the study design, the team published a protocol paper last year that illustrates the methods and estimating outcomes. Therefore, we are seeking Perth-based participants who have been diagnosed with IBS. You will get the opportunity to participate in world-class research and be provided with information on your sleep, mental health and IBS.

For more information, visit the webpage here or contact a member of the team below:

Tina Yan
Telephone: 0448 264 864

Mandy Murphy

Dr Claus Christophersen
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 5278

Dr Ian Dunican
Telephone: 0409 680 867

Professor Amanda Devine
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 5527



  1. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Statistics 2016 [updated 10 May, 2016. Available from: accessed 25 November 2020.
  2. Guthrie E, Creed F, Fernandes L, et al. Cluster analysis of symptoms and health seeking behaviour differentiates subgroups of patients with severe irritable bowel syndrome. Gut 2003;52(11):1616. doi: 10.1136/gut.52.11.1616
  3. Rotem AY, Sperber AD, Krugliak P, et al. Polysomnographic and actigraphic evidence of sleep fragmentation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Sleep 2003;26(6):747-52. [published Online First: 2003/10/24]
  4. Vege SS, Locke GR, 3rd, Weaver AL, et al. Functional gastrointestinal disorders among people with sleep disturbances: a population-based study. Mayo Clin Proc 2004;79(12):1501-6.
  5. Wang B, Duan R, Duan L. Prevalence of sleep disorder in irritable bowel syndrome: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Saudi J Gastroenterol 2018;24(3):141-50. doi: 10.4103/sjg.SJG_603_17 [published Online First: 2018/04/14]
  6. Buono JL, Carson RT, Flores NM. Health-related quality of life, work productivity, and indirect costs among patients with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. Health And Quality Of Life Outcomes 2017;15(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s12955-017-0611-2 [published Online First: 2017/02/16]
  7. Lacy BE, Patel H, Guerin A, et al. Variation in Care for Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the United States. PLoS One 2016;11(4):e0154258. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154258 [published Online First: 2016/04/27]
  8. Cash B, Sullivan S, Barghout V. Total costs of IBS: employer and managed care perspective. Am J Manag Care 2005;11(1 Suppl):S7-16. [published Online First: 2005/06/02]

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