bowel syndrome (IBS
Some believe that proper functioning bowels is the key
to health. The flora in the bowles may be the biggest contributor
to a healthy immune system. Thus proper functioning bowels
may be the gateway to good health. Ralated to Crohn’s
Two causes seldom listed are heavy metals, and parasites.
bowel syndrome (IBS, or spastic colon) is a symptom-based
diagnosis characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort,
bloating,and alteration of bowel habits. As a functional
bowel disorder, IBS has no known organic cause. Diarrhea
or constipation may predominate, or they may alternate (classified
as IBS-D, IBS-C or IBS-A, respectively). Historically a
diagnosis of exclusion, a diagnosis of IBS can now be made
on the basis of symptoms alone, in the absence of alarm
features such as age of onset greater than 50 years, weight
loss, gross hematochezia, systemic signs of infection or
colitis, or family history of inflammatory bowel disease.
Onset of IBS is more likely to occur after an infection
(post-infectious, IBS-PI), a stressful life event, or onset
of maturity. Although there is no cure for
IBS, there are treatments that attempt to relieve symptoms,
including dietary adjustments, medication and psychological
interventions. Patient education and a good doctor-patient
relationship are also important. Several conditions may
present as IBS including coeliac disease, fructose malabsorption,
mild infections, parasitic infections like giardiasis,
several inflammatory bowel diseases, bile acid malabsorption,
functional chronic constipation, and chronic functional
abdominal pain. In IBS, routine clinical tests yield no
abnormalities, although the bowels may be more sensitive
to certain stimuli, such as balloon insufflation testing.
The exact cause of IBS is unknown. The most common theory
is that IBS is a disorder of the interaction between the
brain and the gastrointestinal tract, although there may
also be abnormalities in the gut flora or the immune system.
IBS has no effect on life expectancy. However, it is a source
of chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms and contributes
to work absenteeism. The high prevalence of IBS
and significant effects on quality of life make IBS a disease
with a high social cost." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irritable_bowel_syndrome
Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)"
The causes of IBS are not well understood. Researchers believe
a combination of physical and mental health problems can
lead to IBS. The possible causes of IBS include the following:
- Brain-gut signal
problems. Signals between the brain
and nerves of the small and large intestines, also
called the gut, control how the intestines work.
Problems with brain-gut signals may cause IBS symptoms,
such as changes in bowel habits and pain or discomfort.
- GI motor problems.
Normal motility, or movement, may not be present
in the colon of a person who has IBS. Slow motility
can lead to constipation and fast motility can lead
to diarrhea. Spasms, or sudden strong muscle contractions
that come and go, can cause abdominal pain. Some
people with IBS also experience hyperreactivity,
which is an excessive increase in contractions of
the bowel in response to stress or eating.
People with IBS have a lower pain threshold to stretching
of the bowel caused by gas or stool compared with
people who do not have IBS. The brain may process
pain signals from the bowel differently in people
- Mental health problems.
Mental health, or psychological, problems such as
panic disorder, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic
stress disorder are common in people with IBS. The
link between these disorders and development of
IBS is unclear. GI disorders, including IBS, are
often found in people who have reported past physical
or sexual abuse. Researchers believe people who
have been abused tend to express psychological stress
through physical symptoms.
- Bacterial gastroenteritis.
Some people who have bacterial gastroenteritis—an
infection or irritation of the stomach and intestines
caused by bacteria—develop IBS. Researchers
do not know why gastroenteritis leads to IBS in
some people and not others, though psychological
problems and abnormalities of the lining of the
GI tract may be factors.
- Small intestinal
bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Normally,
few bacteria live in the small intestine. SIBO is
an increase in the number of bacteria or a change
in the type of bacteria in the small intestine.
These bacteria can produce excess gas and may also
cause diarrhea and weight loss. Some researchers
believe that SIBO may lead to IBS, and some studies
have shown antibiotics to be effective in treating
IBS. However, the studies were weak and more research
is needed to show a link between SIBO and IBS.
- Body chemicals.
People with IBS have altered levels of neurotransmitters,
which are chemicals in the body that transmit nerve
signals, and GI hormones, though the role these
chemicals play in developing IBS is unclear. Younger
women with IBS often have more symptoms during their
menstrual periods. Post-menopausal women have fewer
symptoms compared with women who are still menstruating.
These findings suggest that reproductive hormones
can worsen IBS problems.
Whether IBS has a genetic cause, meaning it runs
in families, is unclear. Studies have shown that
IBS is more common in people with family members
who have a history of GI problems. However, the
cause could be environmental or the result of heightened
awareness of GI symptoms.
- Food sensitivity.
Many people with IBS report that certain foods and
beverages can cause symptoms, such as foods rich
in carbohydrates, spicy or fatty foods, coffee,
and alcohol. However, people with food sensitivity
typically do not have clinical signs of food allergy.
Researchers have proposed that symptoms may result
from poor absorption of sugars or bile acids, which
help break down fats and get rid of wastes in the
"Abnormal serotonin levels. One dominant
theory is that IBS is related to serotonin in the gut, says
Steven Field, MD, a gastroenterologist and clinical assistant
professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine
in New York City. You may have heard of serotonin as a chemical
in your brain that helps to regulate your mood. But, actually,
that work is only a fraction of its job. While a percentage
of your body’s serotonin is found in your brain, it
is also found in the walls of your colon. There, it may
regulate bowel contractions and movements and secrete fluid,
Dr. Fields says. Researchers have found that if you have
an abnormal amount of serotonin in your gut or if the serotonin
in your gut isn’t functioning the way it should, it
can lead to IBS symptoms, Fields says. It could be why some
people see an improvement in their IBS symptoms when they
take antidepressants, many of which work by adjusting serotonin
Med "Polymorphisms in serotonin re-uptake
transporter (SERT or SLC6A4) gene may play role in disturbance
in gut function in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)...CONCLUSION:
The frequency of SLC6A4-polymorphism and higher levels of
5-HT were significantly associated with IBS, particularly
in patients with diarrhea and abdominal pain, suggesting
that SLC6A4 is a potential candidate gene involved in the
pathogenesis (causes a disease)
of IBS." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22457857
Serotonin is common in antidepressant
drugs and a common treatment for depression. This report
states serotonin increases IBS and gut problems.