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Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders. Although the stigma surrounding the syndrome is falling away, many physicians and research funders still consider it to be a mild condition that does not merit substantial investment. As research slowly progresses, there is increased hope for treating, or perhaps preventing, this always unpleasant and in some cases severe condition.

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The term irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is relatively modern, but people have had similar symptoms for millennia. Initially thought to exist only in the mind, the disorder has gained legitimacy through the identification of causes and improved diagnosis. By Amber Dance.

Outlook | | Nature

The involvement of intestinal bacteria in gut-brain communication could help to explain the mysteries of irritable bowel syndrome, but the search continues for definitive evidence.

Outlook | | Nature

Many people with irritable bowel syndrome feel that they benefit from dietary interventions, but researchers still lack a full understanding of how food can inflame this disorder.

Outlook | | Nature

For years, researchers have tried to find biomarkers that could aid the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, and point to its underlying causes. But will one test ever be enough?

Outlook | | Nature

Peter Whorwell is Director of the South Manchester Neurogastroenterology Service and a gastroenterologist at the University Hospital of South Manchester, UK. He has been researching and treating patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for more than 35 years, and has seen the depths of despair that this condition can cause.

Outlook | | Nature

Infections have long been thought to cause irritable bowel syndrome, but it has not been clear how. It seems that pathogens might be changing the behaviour of our gut microbiota.

Outlook | | Nature

There is a long list of unknowns about the causes and symptomatology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But the research challenges can be distilled into four key areas.

Outlook | | Nature

Related articles

Irritable bowel syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder that can be mild in some patients, but debilitating in others. This PrimeView focuses on the complex aetiology and current understanding of the molecular pathophysiology, involving intestinal permeability, microbiota, inflammation and visceral sensitivity, among other factors.

PrimeView | | Nature Reviews Disease Primers

Placebo analgesia is increasingly appreciated in many difficult to treat chronic functional gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS. However, investigations of interactions between psychological and biological placebo factors are still in early stages. Now, technologies have been developed that enable neural mechanisms of placebo analgesia to be studied more directly in humans.

News & Views | | Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Intestinal microbes can have important effects on our health. Here, the authors analyse the gut microbiota composition in 1,000 western adults and find that certain bacteria are either abundant or nearly absent, and that these alternative states are associated with ageing and overweight.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

IBS is the most common brain–gut disorder and a major cause of chronic abdominal pain. Here, Mayer and colleagues describe the key components of the gut–brain–microbiota axis in IBS and present a systems-based view of how these components interact to integrate the central, peripheral and behavioural IBS-related alterations.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disease with a high prevalence. Enck et al. describe the association between IBS and other gastrointestinal, somatic and psychiatric conditions, as well as the current view on the pathophysiology, and diagnostic and management options.

Primer | | Nature Reviews Disease Primers