What causes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Jenifer K Lehrer, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome remain poorly defined, but they are being avidly researched.

Postulated etiologies of irritable bowel syndrome

Abnormal transit profiles and an enhanced perception of normal motility may exist. Up to one third of patients with irritable bowel syndrome may have altered colonic transit. Delayed colonic motility may be more common in patients with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome than in healthy controls. Similarly, accelerated colonic transit may be more common in patients with diarrhea-predominant disease than in healthy controls. [15] Local histamine sensitization of the afferent neurons causing earlier depolarization may occur.


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