IBS Awareness Month
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects about 12% of the global population.
April is IBS awareness month, a time to focus on IBS diagnosis, treatment and improving quality of life.
IBS is defined as a chronic or long term condition with multiple symptoms that affect your digestive system, particularly the large intestine (colon).
The primary role of the large colon is to absorb water and nutrients from partially digested foods, as well as getting rid of unwanted material from the body.
The muscles in the colon contract and relax to remove undigested foods. If the colon muscles don’t work, the movement through won’t be efficient enough and may cause discomfort.
There is increasing evidence that the GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms experienced in IBS may be caused by one of more of the following:
- Imbalance of bacteria living in the gut (microbiota)
- Irregularity in gut movement
- Impaired immune system
- Incidents of bowel inflammation (body responses to protect us from infection).
These changes can impact how the digestive system functions and how the brain senses what’s happening in the bowels.
Symptoms of IBS include stomach cramps, pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea.
IBS is divided into subgroups based on your bowel habits:
- IBS-C with constipation
- IBS-D with diarrhoea
- IBS-M with mixed-bowel habits – diarrhoea and constipation.
The large intestine is the main component of the colon and contains the highest number of bacteria which can survive and multiply when digesting our food.
The gut microbiota improves your ability to extract and store energy from food and creates beneficial effects throughout your whole digestive system.
Recent scientific evidence indicates that the gut microbiota plays an important role in gastrointestinal conditions including IBS.
The faecal microbiota of those with IBS differs significantly from healthy people, with a potential contribution to altered bowel habits and the way that the colon behaves.1
Several studies have indicated that the abundance of beneficial bacteria (Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Faecalibacterium) is reduced.
This can be at the same time as other bacteria that are not so supportive (Veillonella, Ruminococcus and Enterobacteriaceae) are increased.2
A reduced diversity of gut microbiome and the presence of Clostridiales, Prevotella and other species may be signs of an IBS-specific microbiome signature that is associated with a potential severity in symptoms.3
A randomised controlled trial found that FMT changed the intestinal bacteria accompanied by modifications in diet and food choices.
This played an important role in improving the IBS symptoms displayed after FMT.4
These findings indicate the potential influence of gut microbiota in the development of effective treatments for IBS.
At Taymount Clinic, our primary role is to restore the microbiome with beneficial microorganisms to optimise overall health and wellbeing.
- Parthasarathy, G. et al. Relationship Between Microbiota of the Colonic Mucosa vs Feces and Symptoms, Colonic Transit, and Methane Production in Female Patients With Chronic Constipation. Gastroenterology 150, 367–379 e361, Available at: doi:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2015.10.005 (2016).
- Pittayanon R, et al. Gut Microbiota in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome-A Systematic Review. Gastroenterology. 2019;157:97–108. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.03.049.
- Tap, J. et al. Identification of an Intestinal Microbiota Signature Associated With Severity of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gastroenterology 152, 111–123 e118, Available at: doi:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2016.09.049 (2017).
- El‐Salhy, M., Hausken, T. and Hatlebakk, J.G. (2021) “Current status of fecal microbiota transplantation for irritable bowel syndrome,” Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 33(11). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/nmo.14157.
- El-Salhy, M., Patcharatrakul, T. and Gonlachanvit, S. (2021) “Fecal microbiota transplantation for irritable bowel syndrome: An intervention for the 21st century,” World Journal of Gastroenterology, 27(22), pp. 2921–2943. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v27.i22.2921
To find out how the Taymount Team can help you get your life back on track, click for a free consultation – https://taymount.com/book-a-consultation
Senior FMT Practitioner & Nutritionist (BSc Hons)