Researchers describe new form of irritable bowel syndrome

September 5, 2013

UCLA researchers have described a new form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that occurs after an acute bout of diverticulitis, a finding that may help lead to better management of symptoms and relief for patients.

The discovery of this new condition, called Post-Diverticulitis Irritable Bowel Syndrome (PDV-IBS), validates the irritable bowel that many patients report long after suffering a bout of , but that many physicians wave off as being part of the original condition, said study senior author Dr. Brennan Spiegel, an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"We've known for a long time that after some people develop diverticulitis, they're a different person. They experience recurrent abdominal pains, cramping and diarrhea that they didn't have before," Spiegel said. "The prevailing wisdom has been that once diverticulitis is treated, it's gone. But we've shown that IBS symptoms occur after the diverticulitis, and it may result from an like a bomb going off in the body and leaving residual damage."

The study appears Sept. 5, 2013 in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

As they age, most people develop , or pouches in the lining of the colon. More than 50% of people over 60 have the condition, but the pouches usually don't cause any problems. Occasionally, the pouches become inflamed, leading to diverticulitis, which causes pain and infection in the . Doctors usually treat it with antibiotics, or in more severe cases, surgery.

"A major surprise in our study was that diverticulitis patients not only developed IBS at a higher rate than the controls, but they also developed mood disorders like depression and anxiety at a higher rate," Spiegel said. "Because IBS and mood disorders often go hand in hand, this suggests that acute diverticulitis might even set off a process leading to long-standing changes in the brain-gut axis."

The discovery of PDV-IBS could mean better attention to patients complaining of symptoms after diverticulitis, symptoms that up until now may have been dismissed by physicians. Spiegel said the PDV-IBS "Patients often report ongoing IBS symptoms after the diverticulitis has long passed, and this study supports their beliefs and introduces a new diagnosis," Spiegel said. "If doctors recognize this, they may take the symptoms more seriously and manage them actively, just as they can manage IBS actively with various new drugs on the market and currently in development."

More than 1,000 patient records from the West Los Angeles Veteran's Affairs Medical Center were examined for the two-year study, including patients that had suffered acute diverticulitis and another group of patients that did not have it. The groups were matched for age and sex and had similar comorbidities, or other existing health problems. The groups were followed for many years as UCLA researchers tracked the differences in IBS diagnoses and .

"This study expands our understanding a little bit about what might cause IBS. It's such a common condition and there may be different flavors," Spiegel said. "We've now added a new flavor to the menu, a new risk factor for developing IBS. By learning more, we might be able to expand the therapies we can use on these patients."

The study was funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals.

"Our findings support the evolving paradigm of diverticular disease as a chronic illness- not merely an acute condition marked by abrupt complications. Far from a self-limited episode, acute diverticulitis may become a chronic disorder in some ," the study states. "Diverticulitis is correlated with not only chronic IBS symptoms, but also long-term emotional distress beyond the event itself. Awareness of this possible risk is important because persistent, untreated gastrointestinal symptoms and comorbid depression may worsen outcome and increase the economic burden of an already prevalent disease."

Explore further: Review of new evidence to treat colonic diverticulitis may help doctors

Related Stories

Review of new evidence to treat colonic diverticulitis may help doctors

August 27, 2012
Recent evidence and new treatments for colonic diverticulitis that may help clinicians manage and treat the disease are summarized in a review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Biomarkers can reveal irritable bowel syndrome

May 7, 2012
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is hard to diagnose as well as treat, but researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have discovered a way of confirming the disorder using stool samples.

Researcher: Hypnosis should be offered to patients with IBS

December 18, 2012
Hypnotherapy helps fight IBS symptoms. These are the findings of a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden which proposes implementing this treatment method into the care of severe sufferers of this ...

New IBS treatment shows potential in Phase 2 study

August 12, 2013
Patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS-D, treated with eluxadoline achieved better clinical response and experienced more symptom improvement than those using placebo, according to a recent study ...

Positive diagnostic strategy non-inferior to exclusion in IBS

August 9, 2013
(HealthDay)—For patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a positive diagnostic strategy is non-inferior to a strategy of exclusion for patients' health-related quality of life (HRQOL), according to a study published ...

Recommended for you

Finish your antibiotics course? Maybe not, experts say

July 27, 2017
British disease experts on Thursday suggested doing away with the "incorrect" advice to always finish a course of antibiotics, saying the approach was fuelling the spread of drug resistance.

Co-infection with two common gut pathogens worsens malnutrition in mice

July 27, 2017
Two gut pathogens commonly found in malnourished children combine to worsen malnutrition and impair growth in laboratory mice, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Phase 3 trial confirms superiority of tocilizumab to steroids for giant cell arteritis

July 26, 2017
A phase 3 clinical trial has confirmed that regular treatment with tocilizumab, an inhibitor of interleukin-6, successfully reduced both symptoms of and the need for high-dose steroid treatment for giant cell arteritis, the ...

A large-scale 'germ trap' solution for hospitals

July 26, 2017
When an infectious airborne illness strikes, some hospitals use negative pressure rooms to isolate and treat patients. These rooms use ventilation controls to keep germ-filled air contained rather than letting it circulate ...

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.