gut microbiota and irritable bowel syndrome

The Gut Microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome 🦠

Over 10% of the global population suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The gut microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are strongly linked, being one of the main causes of this disease.

In this post, we'll go through how the gut microbiota can affect and cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Are you ready? Let's go!

What’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder affecting the large intestine. Around 5-10% the global population suffer from IBS, most common in developed countries like USA, or Europe.

There are different factors that may cause IBS. Although they are still quite unclear, it seems like the gut microbiota and deteriorated intestinal barrier may have a big impact on the development of IBS.

Gut microbiota and IBS

Types of IBS

There are different types of IBS, depending on the main symptoms of the patient.

The main types of IBS are:

  • IBS-C: Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation
  • IBS-D: Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea
  • IBS-M: Mixed Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • IBS-U: Un-subtyped Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS Diagnosis

Symptoms of IBS

Depending on the type of IBS and development of the disease, the symptoms may vary.

Common symptoms of IBS include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, nauseas, or mild fever.

The symptoms may go from mild to severe, depending on the patient and disease status.

Around half of IBS cases are diagnosed as “Moderate IBS”. The symptoms are perceived as “moderate”, although it may get worse as the disease develops.

The Gut Microbiota

The gut microbiota refers to all the beneficial bacterias living in your intestines.

From the moment you are born, your intestine is colonized by the first bacterias. During your first years of life, the gut microbiota is developed and shaped.

Once is fully developed, your diet, sleep, stress levels, or physical activity can shape and change the composition of the gut microbiota.

Factors Modulating Gut Microbiota

These bacteria have established a symbiotic relationship with the host (you) throughout history.

By letting them live inside you, they provide you with energy, synthesizing vitamins, and bringing health to your life (source)

Gut Dysbiosis and Disease

Your gut microbiota create an ecosystem between the different bacterial species.

Unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, or overuse of antibiotics may disturb this ecosystem (study)

A disturbed gut microbiota can lead to several health issues, including autoinmune diseases (study), depression and anxiety (study), metabolic diseases (study), or irritable bowel syndrome (study)

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Gut Microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Both the gut microbiota and irritable bowel syndrome are related to the digestive system.

While the gut microbiota is a component of the digestive system, irritable bowel syndrome is a disease caused by malfunction of such system.

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There’s a strong link between the gut microbiota and irritable bowel syndrome.

An altered gut microbiota is one of the main causes of irritable bowel syndrome (study). Multiple studies have link IBS pathogenesis with gut dysbiosis (study).

But how does the gut microbiota cause irritable bowel syndrome?

Loss of Healthy Gut Bacteria

A loss of healthy bacteria richness and composition causes alterations in your intestines.

The intestinal barrier is more permeable and susceptible to alterations, and the inmune system is weakened (study)

gut microbiota and irritable bowel syndrome

Alteration of the Intestinal Barrier

Gut dysbiosis may cause an alteration in the intestinal barrier, changing the bowel movement.

This may lead to constipation or diarrhea, depending on the water absorption through the large intestine (study)

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Weakens your Inmune System

An unhealthy gut bacteria can impact your innate immune system. This leads to a higher risk of pathogenesis and development of new diseases.

When your inmune system can’t respond efficiently to disease, the spread and development of such diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome may take place.

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Leaves More Room for Pathogens

When the gut bacteria is deteriorated, pathogens take over your intestine, pushing the healthy bacteria away.

The more pathogens enter in your intestine, the higher risk of developing a bacterial infections.

One of the main causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a bacterial infection in the digestive tract (study)

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Is Gut Dysbiosis the Main Cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a complex matter. To date, we are lacking research to determine the main cause of this disease.

However, Irritable Bowel Syndrome points out to be a consequence of different factors. Not only gut dysbiosis, but depression, stress, unhealthy diets, or physical inactivity may cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Now the question comes: Do these causes lead to gut dysbiosis, and then to IBS… or are these causes directly related to IBS?

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Conclusion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an array of digestive issues affecting to 10% of the global population.

The gut microbiota, among other factors, is one of the main causes of irritable bowel syndrome. It alters your bowel movement, leads more room for pathogens, and weakens your inmune system.

All these consequences increase the risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome.

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