IBS as Mystery Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS has long been a mystery to doctors. It causes the sufferer cramps, constipation or diarrhea and a lot of other digestive distress. Until now gastroenterologists could find no reason for the symptoms and considered IBS largely psychological. They call it functional bowel disorder, and it afflicts nearly 40 million Americans.
Possible Cause of IBS
Now there is both a non-psychological explanation and a test for the condition that may help with treatment. Dr. Mark Pimentel has found that toxins produced by a bacterial infection such as a bout of food poisoning can harm nerves vital to digestive system function. They can also trigger an ongoing immune system reaction long after patients have recovered from the infection itself.
A New Test for IBS
Now Dr. Pimentel and his colleagues have developed a test for antibodies to the toxins. The test was validated in a study of almost 3,000 people with and without IBS or other digestive disorders.
PLOS One, May 13, 2015