Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not physical activity is effective in reducing the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome in adults 18 years of age and older.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three English language primary randomized controlled trials from peer reviewed journals published between 2008-2015.

DATA SOURCES: Three randomized controlled trials were found using PubMed and Cochrane.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: All three studies measured irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) gastrointestinal symptom severity using self-reported questionnaires including the irritable bowel syndrome severity scoring system (IBS-SSS) and the Birmingham IBS Symptom Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Kavuri et al. found that a remedial yoga module significantly improved the gastrointestinal symptoms in adult patients with IBS when compared to the wait-list control group. Although Johannesson et al. reported improvements in IBS symptoms in the physical activity group when compared to the control group, the results were not significant. Daley et al. reported significant improvement in the constipation symptoms of IBS in the physical activity group when compared to control, but no other significant differences in symptoms scores were noted.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the results of these three trials, it seems that there is a benefit to increasing physical activity in IBS patients. It is likely that physical activity can help alleviate IBS symptom severity, but further studies should be conducted to better explore these improvements.