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Researchers uncover new focus for IBS treatment

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
IBS cause uncovered

Research may have uncovered the cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that causes suffering to those affected from gas, bloating and intermittent constipation and diarrhea. The finding could mean new treatments that target bacteria in the gut.


Mayo Clinic in Rochester Mn. investigators published findings in the American Journal of Physiology—Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.

Stress, diet and antibiotics could lead to IBS

In a review of studies researchers looked at how gut microbia can change leading to the disease that affects 11 percent of the world's population.

What the investigaton found could mean targeted therapies to relive the pain and often embarrassing symptoms of the inflammatory bowel condition.

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Genes play a role in the disease but the the cause of what combination of factors trigger an inflammatory respone has been poorly understood.

Recent studies focus on gut microbes that can trigger inflammatory responses in the body and even autoimmune diseases. Based on the recent hypothesis that our gut controls much of our health and immune function, the Mayo Clinic researchers decided to explore the link to IBS further.

What they found is:

  • Antibiotics disrupt the balance of bacteria in the colon that is found to be associated with IBS
  • Bacteria in the gut can disrupt communication signals between cells; in turn increasing the chances of developing the condition.
  • Alterations in gut bacteria can make it more difficult for the GI tract to move waste through the system.
  • Food contribute to IBS symptom
  • More studies are needed to determine how genes/heredity change gut microbes

Now that researchers know more about how IBS develops the hope is to find better, more personalized treatments based on the microbiome of the gut.

Journal Reference:

Yogesh Bhattarai, David A. Muniz Pedrogo, Purna C. Kashyap
American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology Published 11 January 2017 Vol. 312 no. 1, G52-G62 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00338.2016