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Causes Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome And What You Need To Know

Jan 24, 2008
Researchers have yet to find a specific cause for irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. It is known as a functional disorder, which means that the way the bowel words is affected. However, there are yet to be found any physical abnormalities that can explain the symptoms.

One theory that has been proposed is that people who have IBS have a large intestine, or colon, that is quite sensitive and reactive to both stress and certain foods. It is thought that the immune system may also be involved.

Symptoms of IBS seem to be caused by contractions of the muscle in the bowel wall some researchers think. These contractions are thought to be stronger and more frequent in people that have IBS. The contractions seem to worsen after eating certain foods and in stressful situations. If a person is intolerant to certain foods such as dairy products, tea and coffee, it may trigger symptoms.

IBS may often develop after a bout of gastroenteritis which is an inflammation not only of the stomach but also of the bowel linings. This often causes diarrhea and sickness. An infection with a bacteria or virus may be the culprit here as well as food poisoning.

These are some other causes of IBS which you may want to think about:

Normal movement, or motility, may be absent in the colon of someone who has IBS. The motility can be spasmodic, also called a spastic colon or it can even temporarily stop working. Spasms are strong and sudden muscle contractions that may come and go periodically.

The lining of the colon which is also known as the epithelium is affected by both the immune and nervous systems. It regulates the flow of fluids both in and out of the large intestine or colon. In a person who has IBS, the epithelium seems to work properly.

However, when the contents inside of the large intestine move too quickly, the colon is not able to absorb the fluids. This results in watery stools. In other people, the movement inside of the colon is much too slow.

This causes any extra fluid to be absorbed, and thus the person suffers from constipation.

With a person who is suffering from IBS, their colon may respond very strongly to certain foods or to stress that would normally not bother other people.

Recent research has found that serotonin and normal gastrointestinal functioning are linked together. Serotonin is a chemical, or neurotransmitter, that delivers messages from one body part to another. Approximately 95% of the serotonin in a person's body is found in the GI tract, and the other 5% is located in the brain. Cells which line the inside of the intestines work as transporters and work at carrying the serotonin out of the gastrointestinal tract. People who suffer with IBS do not have as much receptor activity as normal people, and this causes a build-up of serotonin in the GI tract. As a result, people with IBS suffer from problems with bowel movement, sensation and motility since they have more sensitive pain receptors located in their GI tract.

Researchers also have reported that IBS may be linked to a bacterial infection in the GI tract. Studies have been documented that people who have had a bout of gastroenteritis may sometimes develop IBS.

These are the main causes of irritable bowel syndrome. If you think that you may be suffering from this disease, it would be wise to consult your physician.
About the Author
Article written by Jessica Bradbury, she has a site dedicated to bottom line information on IBS, including common diets for irritable bowel syndrome and the cure for irritable bowel syndrome.
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