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The experiences of physical activity in irritable bowel syndrome-A qualitative study

Journal article
Authors Elisabet Johannesson
Eva Jakobsson Ung
Gisela Ringström
Riadh Sadik
Published in Journal of Clinical Nursing
Volume 28
Issue 17-18
Pages 3189-3199
ISSN 0962-1067
Publication year 2019
Published at University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Medicine
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 3189-3199
Language en
Keywords exercise, gastrointestinal diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, physical activity, qualitative research, natural-history, health-care, prevalence, management, disorders, symptoms, exercise, term, intervention, comorbidity, Nursing
Subject categories Nursing


Aims and objectives To explore experiences of physical activity in patients with Irritable bowel syndrome. Background Irritable bowel syndrome is a common functional bowel disorder. The knowledge of physical activity in Irritable bowel syndrome is limited and has not been qualitatively studied before. Methods We adopted a qualitative approach and a hermeneutic analysis. Fifteen patients with Irritable bowel syndrome (10 women) with a median age of 52 (31-78) years were interviewed. The Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research was used. Results Two themes emerged from the data: requirements of physical activity and capability for physical activity. The first of these consisted of five subthemes: add additional value, enable transportation, maintain health, cultivate interests and give a feeling of belonging. These qualities were the patients' requirements of physical activity and comprised the patients' motives and reasons for being physically active. The second consisted of four subthemes: life situation, earlier experiences, self-image, and symptom variation and described the possibility and resources to be physically active in everyday life. The patients made active choices to adjust their physical activity in terms of type, intensity and amount. The two main themes affect each other reciprocally. Conclusions The requirements of and capabilities for physical activity should be taken into account when giving advice to patients on physical activity. Physical activity for a person with Irritable bowel syndrome is about finding activities which meet the patient's individual requirements of and capability for physical activity. Relevance to clinical practice This qualitative study on the experience pf physical activity in Irritable bowel syndrome provides knowledge to facilitate promoting physical activity among patients suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome. This knowledge can be used in other diagnosis.

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