Bacteria as a cause of IBS

To me, one of the most convincing and sensible explanations for IBS is a disruption to the ‘friendly’ bacteria in the intestines. It seems like such a good explanation because many IBS sufferers find that their symptoms start after a particularly virulent bout of food poisoning, when evil bacteria are wreaking havoc with the gut.

All it would take is a few million of these evil bacteria remaining lodged in the gut and you would have bowel problems. It just seems a more logical explanation than some of the airy-fairy theories which we’re sometimes asked to swallow, such as “It’s stress, calm down a bit and you’ll be fine”. If a doctor thinks it’s psychological then I suppose that’s his choice, but my IBS started after I spent two whole days vomiting and being incontinent on the bedsheets – do you not think there’s a connection?

Here’s a quote from a national newspaper about those evil little organisms:

“We’re now thinking that under certain circumstances these bacteria increase a million fold, and this may lead to disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome,” says Cambridge gastroenterologist Professor John Hunter.

Well, it makes sense to me. Although probiotics, which would in theory solve the bacteria problem, have not yet been scientifically proven to any great extent, this does give some hope that at least a certain number of IBS sufferers have only to wait a few years before some bright spark invents a bactericide that wipes out the bad boys and leaves in the good.

One Response to Bacteria as a cause of IBS

  1. Hello Sophie,
    I’ve been diagnosed with IBS but I disagree with the bacteria thing and I’m firmly in the psychological camp.
    Mine started slowly during a period when I was going through a divorce and changing jobs. I’ve tried every treatment available, every probiotic concoction and tried eliminating food groups one at a time, but nothing works. There also seems to be no trigger food, I just seem to have permanent stomach trouble.
    The reason I think it’s psychological is that I’ve worked abroad a number of times over the last couple of years, in a more relaxed environment, and each time the symptoms disappear. Each time I returned to UK the symptoms returned. I’ve also noticed that the symptoms ease on foreign holidays.
    I know it’s called a syndrome because it has a number of manifestations, but I think it’s also got a wide variety of causes, some food related and some not.