Irritable Bowel Syndrome News

Browse our library of news below or learn more about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, diagnosis and causes.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome more likely in fibromyalgia patients

IBS may be more common in fibromyalgia patientsIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gut disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists in the developed world and now researchers say fibromyalgia patients in particular are at risk of developing the condition. 

The onset of IBS results in symptoms including abdominal pain, gas, bloating and particularly changes in bowel habits. Indeed, patients are diagnosed based on whether the dominant symptom is constipation (IBS-C), diarrhoea (IBS-D) or an alternating pattern between the two (IBS-A). Episodes are often triggered or exacerbated by identifiable contributing factors such as gut irritating foods or drinks (e.g. bran fibre, alcohol), food intolerances or sensitivities, certain medications (e.g. antibiotics) or periods of increased psychological stress. Despite studies identifying many possible underlying mechanisms involved, the exact cause of IBS remains elusive.

That fibromyalgia patients are at increased risk of developing IBS compared to otherwise healthy individuals will likely come as little surprise to many, however. Previous research has shown both conditions involve alterations in the regulation of pain and how it is perceived, along with shared risk factors and triggers. Abnormal levels and activity of important nerotransmitters such as serotonin and substance P (present in both the gut and brain) are known to play important roles in IBS and fibromyalgia - both pain syndromes.

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Irritable bowel syndrome associated with inflammation and a leaky gut

Woman With IBS​A new review of published research into irritable bowel syndrome has revealed that the digestive disorder is associated with changes in the immune system and the permeability of the intestinal wall.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders diagnosed by doctors and its various symptoms often have a severe impact on patients' lives. Sadly, a lack of understanding of what causes and maintains the condition has hampered the development of effective treatments so those affected are often left doing their best to manage their symptoms with minimal medical assistance.

Recognizing this knowledge gap regarding the etiology of IBS - and also that recent studies have pointed to the involvement of immune activation - a team of scientists at Clermont University, France, undertook a review of  published medical studies. The focus of the study was to determine whether immune activation and increased intestinal permeability (colloquially known as leaky gut syndrome) were more common among IBS patients than in healthy individuals.

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Combination antibiotic and probiotic treatment reduces gut fermentation and symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome

Rifaximin Tablets​A small preliminary study of irritable bowel syndrome patients has found that this group has a high degree of microbial fermentation in the gut and that combined treatment with antibiotics and probiotics successfully reduces both fermentation and symptoms.

Previous studies have found an association between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and abnormally high levels of gut fermentation attributed to overgrowth of bacterial populations in the upper gut - a condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Researchers such as those at the G.I. Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, have found treatment with the non-absorbable antibiotic rifaximin can address SIBO and reduce symptoms of IBS while being well tolerated.

Building on this work, scientists in Argentina have recently published the results of a study in which they added a course of probiotics subsequent to rifaximin treatment and monitored effects on both fermentation and symptoms of IBS.

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Biomarkers may confirm irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis

Test Tubes​New research has uncovered differences in the concentrations of proteins called granins between irritable bowel syndrome patients and their healthy peers, suggesting measurement of these proteins could form the basis of lab tests to confirm the diagnosis of the condition.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal (GI) disorder in the developed world, yet this diagnosis is based primarily on a patients symptoms and ruling out other GI diseases with lab testing. As a result it has sometimes been referred to as a "waste basket diagnosis" and has not been taken seriously, when the reality is that the symptoms and suffering of patients are very real.

Now, a pioneering study conducted by scientists from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, may have identified specific granins as biomarkers that can be used to develop the first diagnostic lab test for IBS. This would not only make diagnosis an easier process for both doctors and patients, it may also point the way to for the development of new and more effective treatments for IBS.

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Elimination diets based on IgG testing prove effective for irritable bowel syndrome

Selection of Whole Foods​A new study has found that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) sufferers have significantly higher positive IgG food intolerance test results than healthy individuals and that eliminating the foods identified from the diet brings substantial symptom relief.

The research was conducted by scientists working at the Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang, China - the aim - to determine the role of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to specific foods in diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D) patients.

The use of IgG testing is seen as controversial and unproven by many conventionally trained primary physicians and gastroenterologists. It has however been increasingly used by naturopathic physicians, nutritionists and various alternative medicine practitioners over the past couple of decades. A large number of commercial labs have sprung up offering IgG testing (most using the ELISA method) as a result. This latest study provides confirmation that such testing is indeed beneficial to IBS-D patients.

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