Association Between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Shift Work: Prevalence and Associated Factors Among Nurses

Adegboyega Akere, Kolawole Oluseyi Akande


Aim: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is commonly seen in the general population. Mechanisms proposed as the underlying pathogenesis include visceral hypersensitivity, alteration in bowel motility, psychological status and abnormal intestinal barrier. It has been observed that circadian rhythms and sleep are altered by shift work, which may ultimately increase stress and worsen health problems. The aim was to determine the prevalence of IBS among nurses and evaluate the relationship between shift work and IBS. Method: One hundred and twenty four nurses at different cadres volunteered to take part in the study. Questionnaires were administered to collect demographic data and all the subjects also completed the IBS module from Rome III diagnostic questionnaire. Results: A total of 124 female nurses participated in the study. The mean age was 38.5±7.7 years with a range between 21 and 57 years. Using Rome III criteria, irritable bowel syndrome was observed in 56 (45.2%) of the subjects. According to subtypes, diarrhoea predominant IBS (IBS-D) was observed in 30.4%, constipation predominant (IBS-C) was observed in 8.9%, while mixed subtype (IBS-M) was seen in 60.7% of the subjects. Using logistic regression analysis; age group 20-29 years, length of practice less than five years, multiple qualifications and involvement in shift duty have the highest risk of developing IBS. Conclusion: Rotating shift work could increase the risk of developing IBS and as such, individuals with IBS or other gastrointestinal symptoms should be educated on the possible negative effect of their work schedule on such symptoms or disorder.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Shift Work; Nurses

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