Objective: The degree to which patient education in the areas of diet, exercise, and stress management can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through healthier lifestyle behaviors is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of outpatient education on the short and long term outcomes, and the association between health-promoting behaviors and symptoms. Methods: Pender's Health Promotion Model provided the theoretical framework. The study had a prospective longitudinal design. A consecutive sample of 52 adult outpatients with IBS attended a structured class that taught health-promoting modifications of lifestyle. Participants completed the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP) and selected items from a Bowel Disease Questionnaire (BDQ) before the class and 1 month and 6 months later. Spearman rank correlations were used to assess the association between HPLP and symptom scores. Wilcoxon rank sum tests compared changes in scores versus their baseline values. Results: Response rates at 1 and 6 months were 75% and 83%, respectively. Results revealed significant 1- and 6 month-improvements in pain and Manning symptoms (p < 0.01) and in some HPLP scores (exercise at 1 month, p < 0.05; stress management at 6 months, p < 0.01). Significant associations were found between some, but not all, HPLP and symptom scores over time. Conclusion: A structured IBS educational class for patients with lBS improved symptoms and some health-promoting behaviors. However, relationships among specific behaviors and specific symptoms did not consistently correspond with this improvement.
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