Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2003 Jul;19(4):336-42.

Inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome: separate or unified?

Author information

1
CNS: Center of Neurovisceral Sciences & Women's Health, Division of Digestive Diseases and Brain Research Institute, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Abstract

Both irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases share symptoms of altered bowel habits associated with abdominal pain or discomfort. Irritable bowel syndrome has been referred to as a functional bowel disorder, which is diagnosed by a characteristic cluster of symptoms in the absence of detectable structural abnormalities. Inflammatory bowel disease is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by various forms of chronic mucosal and/or transmural inflammation of the intestine. In this review, the authors discuss recent evidence suggesting several potential mechanisms that might play a pathophysiologic role in both syndromes. Possible shared pathophysiologic mechanisms include altered mucosal permeability, an altered interaction of luminal flora with the mucosal immune system, persistent mucosal immune activation, alterations in gut motility, and a role of severe, sustained life stressors in symptom modulation. It is proposed that similarities and differences between the two syndromes can best be addressed within the framework of interactions between the central nervous system and the gut immune system. Based on recent reports of low-grade mucosal inflammation in subpopulations of patients meeting current diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome, therapeutic approaches shown to be effective in inflammatory bowel disease, such as probiotics, antibiotics, and antiinflammatory agents, have been suggested as possible therapies for certain patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

PMID:
15703574

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center