BACKGROUND: Most of the focus on patients with Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD) has centered on endoscopic management, and thus little is known about quality of life in these patients. AIMS: We sought to determine what health-related quality of life components are troublesome to patients with SOD and compare to patients with recurrent pancreatitis. METHODS: Using the Brief Symptom Inventory and the SF-12 version 1, as well as proprietary questionnaires, we measured health-related quality of life in patients with biliary SOD and patients with recurrent idiopathic pancreatitis who underwent sphincter of Oddi manometry. RESULTS: Both groups had significantly worse quality of life than nonpatients and both groups somatized. Abuse histories were surprisingly common and similar between both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Health-related quality of life is impaired and abuse histories are common in SOD patients, and similar to patients with recurrent idiopathic pancreatitis. Whether these characteristics are predictors of healthcare seeking remains to be determined. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.