Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most frequently experienced gastrointestinal (GI) disorders currently affecting people. Within the large group of people affected by IBS, there is a small number whose IBS symptoms started suddenly. They develop after what appears to be recovering from an infection in the stomach and intestines such as gastroenteritis and therefore called post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS). While most individuals recover completely after the initial infection, some individuals do not. PI-IBS seems uncommon following a GI infection which was the result of a virus. The infectious agent is typically a bacterium.
Post Infectious IBS may follow infection with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Swelling is the main way the body reacts to unwanted germs and infections. It is part of the complex immune response. The immune system has to turn on and off at the right times in order to fight infection and not cause harm to the body. Not turning off at the right time can cause the normal inflammatory response after the initial infection has gone, thus causing PI-IBS. A small level of swelling can go on for years. These inflammatory changes in IBS are typically very subtle and not routinely observable. Changes in the nerves lining of the gut can also be a crucial factor in developing PI-IBS. Infection can cause injury to the nerves in charge of gut motility and sensation. This might result in changing bowel movements and irregular awareness of pain inside the GI tract.
Management of PI-IBS is tailored to each patient and based on the severity of their symptoms. Diet and lifestyle change can help to lessen the symptoms. Dr. Connor may suggest medications to assist with controlling your symptoms.