Researchers have identified some genetic differences that might explain IBS’s association with anxiety and stress.
IBS, i.e., irritable bowel syndrome, is a pathology of the gut. More common in females (especially those in their 40s), this condition causes bloating with irregular spells of constipation and diarrhea. The exact cause of this condition still remains unclear. However, most doctors think it sets in due to stress and anxiety. Thus they treat it accordingly.
Although IBS is associated with anxiety, the hypothesis that anxiety ’causes’ IBS, is not entirely true. A research led by Prof. Miles Parkes, consultant gastroenterologist at Cambridge Addenbrookes Hospital, has shown that genes have some part to play in deciding one’s fate in this context.
The Research And its Prospects
The research team studied about 50,000 individuals who suffered from IBS. The members carried extensive profiling of their DNAs and compared them with those of healthy individuals in the control group. Surprisingly, they identified some six genetic differences that explained IBS and its link with emotional states such as anxiety and stress.
The genetic variations were chiefly in the genes that affected the brain’s physiology. More so, they affected the nerves that supplied the gut. This revelation made it somewhat clear that it is the genetic variations that clock in symptoms of both the gut and the mind (IBS and anxiety respectively).
“Our study shows these conditions have shared genetic origins, with the affected genes possibly leading to physical changes in brain or nerve cells that in turn cause symptoms in the brain and symptoms in the gut.”Prof. Miles Parkes.
The study provides an improved intel on the interplay between the mind and the gut. It provides better understanding of IBS and its underlying causes and based on its discoveries, it opens a way for better management of IBS patients.
Source: BBC News