It is known that viral, bacterial, and protozoal infections of the gastrointestinal tract are a risk factor for development of functional disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and chronic fatigue. It is plausible that SARS-CoV-2 infection could be a trigger for longer-term gastrointestinal symptoms, especially given the previous evidence linking infections and IBS symptoms, or postinfectious IBS, said Juan Pablo Stefanolo, MD, a physician with the neurogastroenterology and motility section, Hospital de Clinicas Jose de San Martin, Buenos Aires University.
In the meantime, practitioners may want to take into account COVID-19 infection history in the evaluation of a patient with IBS-like symptoms and, in case of a known positive COVID-19 result in an IBS patient, be aware of the possibility of symptom exacerbation, Stefanolo said.“GI symptoms and chronic fatigue may persist months after COVID-19” – Andrew D. Bowser
Gastrointestinal complaints such as abdominal pain or bowel problems, diarrhea, incontinence, and constipation can also be a symptom of a somatic disorder. What is a somatic symptom disorder? Somatic symptom disorders and other related disorders represent psychiatric conditions that challenge medical providers. Clinicians need to estimate the relative contribution of psychological factors to somatic symptoms. These may be related to another primary psychiatric condition however symptoms can dramatically improve with successful treatment of the anxiety or mood disorder.
The saga continues, we aren’t at the end of the tunnel yet and with the year of isolation and anxiety producing newscasts, it is no wonder that we are seeing more somatic symptom disorders! Be alert, know your resident’s baseline and recognize subtle changes that may be manageable if understood.
Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!