Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Irritable bowel syndrome definitely isn’t 'all in the head'

Date:
November 13, 2012
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
Irritable bowel syndrome is not "all in the head," as has been commonly thought. A new article describes a renaissance in the understanding of the condition, also known as IBS, and dismisses the notion that symptoms are specific to a single cause, and says symptoms are indications of several disturbed motor and sensory processes.

Irritable bowel syndrome is not "all in the head," as has been commonly thought. In a review of the literature, Michael Camilleri, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and author of an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, describes a renaissance in the understanding of the condition, also known as IBS. He dismisses the notion that symptoms are specific to a single cause, and says symptoms are indications of several disturbed motor and sensory processes.

Related Articles


Irritable bowel syndrome is common, affecting 10 to 20 percent of the population in developed countries. IBS is not a disease, but rather a group of symptoms that occur together. The most common symptoms are cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.

"Our goal is a better understanding of the mechanisms behind this syndrome. That way, we can foster individualized, specific treatment for patients with IBS," Dr. Camilleri says.

Why patients develop IBS is not clear. Psychological factors and genetic predisposition play a part in IBS, but Dr. Camilleri points to a variety of underlying irritants that disturb gastrointestinal functions and contribute to IBS symptoms. Examples include digesting certain food, prior gastroenteritis, the patient's gut flora, and bile acids and fatty acids (involved in digestion of food) arriving in the colon.

"If we can identify these irritants in the individual patient, we have the opportunity to prevent or reverse symptoms," Dr. Camilleri says.

IBS is typically diagnosed after a patient has recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort at least three days per month, in the previous three months, combined with a change in the frequency of bowel movements or a change in stool's appearance.

IBS can occur at any age, but often begins in the teens or early adulthood. It is twice as common in women as in men. Studies have shown that people who have a first-degree relative with IBS are at increased risk.

IBS may be a lifelong condition. For some people, symptoms are disabling and reduce the ability to work, travel and attend social events. Treatment often helps. Common treatments include fiber supplements, anti-diarrheal medications, eliminating high-gas foods, anticholinergic medications, antidepressants, antibiotics and counseling.

Dr. Camilleri is the Atherton and Winifred W. Bean Professor at Mayo Clinic. Ethics disclosures: Dr. Camilleri reports receiving consulting fees from Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Albany Molecular Research, BioKier, Theravance, Alkermes, ARYx Therapeutics, AstraZeneca, Domain Therapeutics, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Tranzyme, and NPS Pharmaceuticals; receiving grant support from Rose Pharma, Albireo, Tsumura, Second Genome, SK Life Science, Salix Pharmaceuticals, and Rhythm through his institution; being a co-inventor of a patent related to enteric delivery of chenodeoxycholic acid for constipation; and receiving royalties from EnteroMedics for licensed technology related to vagal-stimulation treatment of obesity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael Camilleri. Peripheral Mechanisms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine, 2012; 367 (17): 1626 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1207068

Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Irritable bowel syndrome definitely isn’t 'all in the head'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113122135.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2012, November 13). Irritable bowel syndrome definitely isn’t 'all in the head'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113122135.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Irritable bowel syndrome definitely isn’t 'all in the head'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121113122135.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed 58,000 heart stress tests to come up with a formula that predicts a person&apos;s chances of dying in the next decade. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Try Swapping Success

GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Try Swapping Success

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis have completed a series of asset swaps worth more than $20 billion. As Grace Pascoe reports they say the deal will reshape both drugmakers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Can West Africa Rebuild After Ebola?

How Can West Africa Rebuild After Ebola?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) How best to rebuild the three West African countries struggling with Ebola will be discussed in Brussels this week. As Hayley Platt reports Sierra Leone has the toughest job ahead - its once thriving economy has been ravaged by the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins