Lifelong traumas may spur irritable bowel syndrome

Washington: Lifelong traumas sparked by natural disasters, house fires or the abuse or the death of a loved one may bring on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a painful chronic condition.

IBS is marked by abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, caused by changes in the nerves and muscles that control bowel sensation and movement.

IBS is 1.5 times more common in women than in men, more prevalent among people under 50 years, says Yuri Saito-Loftus, from Mayo Clinic, Rochester, who led the study, according to a Mayo statement.

Besides, general life traumas were more commonly reported than physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Of the 2,623 participants, patients reported more traumas over a lifetime than controls with traumas common before age 18 as well as after age 18.

"While stress has been linked to IBS, and childhood abuse has been reported to be present in up to 50 percent of patients with IBS, at a prevalence twice that of patients without IBS. Most studies of abuse have focused on sexual abuse with sparse detail and also have not looked at other forms of psychological trauma," said Saito-Loftus.

"This is the first study that looks at multiple forms of trauma, the timing of those traumas, and traumas in a family setting," he added.

Saito-Loftus said the results of this study indicate that patients with IBS experience or report traumas at a level higher than patients without IBS.

These findings were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology`s (ACG) 76th Annual Scientific meeting in Washington, DC.


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