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Infection, inflammation, and the irritable bowel syndrome

 

 

 

 

Dig Liver Dis. 2009 Aug 27. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Infection, inflammation, and the irritable bowel syndrome.

 

Spiller R, Garsed K. Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre Biomedical Research Unit, University Hospital, Nottingham, United Kingdom.

 

 

Gastrointestinal infection is ubiquitous worldwide though the pattern of infection varies widely. Poor hygiene and lack of piped water is associated with a high incidence of childhood infection, both viral and bacterial. However in developed countries bacterial infection is commoner in young adults. Studies of bacterial infections in developed countries suggest 75% of adults fully recover, however around 25% have long lasting changes in bowel habit and a smaller number develop the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Whether the incidence is similar in developing countries is unknown. Post-infective IBS (PI-IBS) shares many features with unselected IBS but by having a defined onset allows better definition of risk factors. These are in order of importance: severity of initial illness, smoking, female gender and adverse psychological factors. Symptoms may last many years for reasons which are unclear. They are likely to include genetic factors controlling the immune response, alterations in serotonin signaling, low grade mucosal inflammation maintained by psychological stressors and alterations in gut microbiota. As yet there are no proven specific treatments, though 5HT(3) receptor antagonists, anti-inflammatory agents and probiotics are all logical treatments which should be examined in large well-designed randomised placebo controlled trials.

 

PMID: 19716778 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

 

 

 

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