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Benef Microbes. 2014 Sep;5(3):247-61. doi: 10.3920/BM2013.0033.

Alteration of the intestinal microbiota as a cause of and a potential therapeutic option in irritable bowel syndrome.

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School of Health and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Örebro University, 701 82 Örebro, Sweden.


The intestinal microbiota forms a complex ecosystem that is in close contact with its host and has an important impact on health. An increasing number of disorders are associated with disturbances in this ecosystem. Also patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) show an altered composition of their gut microbiota. IBS is a multifactorial chronic disorder characterised by various abdominal complaints and a worldwide prevalence of 10-20%. Even though its aetiology and pathophysiology are complex and not well understood, it is widely accepted that aberrations along the microbe-gut-brain axis are involved. In this review, it will be discussed how exogenous factors, e.g. antibiotics, can cause disbalance in the intestinal microbiota and thereby contribute to the development of IBS. In addition, several new IBS treatment options that aim at re-establishing a healthy, beneficial ecosystem will be described. These include antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics and faecal transplantation.


antibiotics; faecal transplantation; gut microbiota; prebiotics; probiotics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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