Evidence of a physical cause for the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have long eluded medical science but now a team of researchers has identified signs of low level inflammation of the gut wall in sufferers.
The previous lack of any signs of physical disease has resulted in the medical profession being skeptical of the existence of IBS and patients have often found doctors to be dismissive of their symptoms, adding to their suffering. This new study is likely to go a long way to change all this while also pointing the way for future research and treatment.
The research was carried out by biologists, led by Professor Michael Schemann, at Germany's Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM). Schemann and his team in TUM's Department for Human Biology discovered low-level inflammation, referred to as "micro-inflammation", in the mucosa of the gut in IBS patients. The micro-inflammation is thought to result in sensitization of the nervous system in the gut (the enteric nervous system) which leads to the symptoms experienced by sufferers.