Media & Press

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): are gastrointestinal infections to blame?

In co-operation with the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (ESNM)

The cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) remains a mystery for many patients; however, recent studies suggest that in around one-third of sufferers, the syndrome may have been caused by an acute gastrointestinal (GI) infection. Professor Paul Enck from the University of Tübingen in Germany, speaking on behalf of United European Gastroenterology (UEG), says people who develop IBS after a gut infection can experience symptoms for many years. "For most people, getting a GI infection is unpleasant, but the symptoms are self-limiting and require little treatment," he explains. "However, for up to 30% of infected patients, the symptoms can persist for anything up to 10 years, and these patients are frequently diagnosed as having IBS. Given that Europeans experience an episode of GI infection on average once every 5 years, it’s not surprising that the prevalence of IBS is so high."