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Changes in the Brain with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome related image Photo: Getty Images

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), a service of the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, explains that about one in five people in the United States has irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The disorder affects women more often than men.

Patients with IBS experience a loss of appetite, abdominal distention (a swollen abdomen) and abdominal fullness. Emotional distress and depression can occur. IBS patients can also have chronic and frequent diarrhea or chronic and frequent constipation, which may occur along with pain. Other symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, which comes and goes, occurs after meals and reduces after a bowel movement. MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, points out that worse IBS symptoms can occur in patients with depression and anxiety.

The NDDIC notes that doctors have not found a specific cause for IBS, but different theories exist. For example, IBS may have to do with sensitivity of the colon or large intestine. Patients may have IBS if they have a bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract or have diminished serotonin receptor activity in the gastrointestinal tract. Another possible cause is that the colons in IBS patients do not have normal motility.

A new study published in the journal Gastroenterology notes that women with IBS can have changes in the brain, specifically in the gray matter. The brain is made up of both gray matter and white matter. The gray matter contains cell bodies, while the white matter contains the nerve fibers. HealthDay News reports that the study included 55 women with IBS and 48 women without the disorder.

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Well if there are changes in the brain that explains why I get so forgetful. There are times when I am thinking about a certain word for days until it pops into my head and then I remember it. But while this is going on trying to remember, I start to become irritated and get upset at a drop of a hat. Now I do not know if this is related to brain changes or not. You know some times I get very bad pain in the head that it begins to cripple me. And that seems to occur if I am concentrating on one thing too long.

October 3, 2010 - 1:03am
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