SIM BRASIL STUDY - WOMEN’S GASTROINTESTINAL HEALTH: GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS AND IMPACT ON THE BRAZILIAN WOMEN QUALITY OF LIFE

Saúde Gastrointestinal da Mulher: sintomas gastrointestinais e o impacto na qualidade de vida da mulher brasileira

Ana Paula Wolf Tasca DEL’ARCO Pamela MAGALHÃES Flávio Antônio QUILICI About the authors

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Gastrointestinal symptoms seem to affect more women, due to hormonal and emotional issues, impacting the quality of life. The emotional state can affect the bowel functioning through a bidirectional communication system between the gut and the brain involving the neuroendocrine system. Altered bowel functioning and gastrointestinal symptoms can alter quality of life.

OBJECTIVE

The SIM study aimed to describe, characterize and quantify gastrointestinal symptoms reported by Brazilian women, their causes, feelings and impact.

METHODS

A structured electronic questionnaire was developed following qualitative phase for semantic formatting, and was administered to volunteer women in ten Brazilian cities. Descriptive and Bayesian statistics analyses were used.

RESULTS

From the 3029 respondent, 66% reported gastrointestinal symptoms. The most prevalent symptoms were gases (46%), abdominal distention and constipation (43%). The main causes were lifestyle and eating habits. Gastrointestinal symptoms affected quality of life in most women (62%), especially constipation (mood (89%), concentration (88%) and sexual life (79%)). Most common solutions were drinking water, teas, eating foods rich in fiber and probiotics.

CONCLUSION

Gastrointestinal symptoms are highly prevalent in Brazilian women and negatively impact different aspects of quality of life (mood, concentration and sexuality). The bowel is an important emotional catalyst that can modulate the psychologic behavior. Better understanding of the interaction between the gut and the brain should help in the management of gastrointestinal symptoms to improve women’s quality of life.

HEADINGS
Gastrointestinal tract; Women’s health; Quality of life; Surveys and questionnaires.

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