Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Wrong Brain Functioning

It is often said that irritable bowel syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion, i.e. it is made when all other possible causes are excluded. A patient suspected of abdominal pain may suffer from abdominal pain for a long period of time and no treatment would seem to be of any help. A series of medical examinations can bring no results. Modern treatments for the irritable bowel syndrome symptoms have shown to be effective temporally and only in some IBS patients. But there’s a general observation that pains in the gastrointestinal tract are stronger and occur much more often in case a person is nervous, demoralized, depressed, anxious or emotionally strained. Therefore patients suffering from IBS symptoms are often left with suboptimal symptomatic treatments and the thought that all this pain is all in their heads. Still many scientific observations have proved that there’s a definite connection between these conditions and irritable bowel syndrome. It is presumed that this connection can be explained by hyperactive pain perception and sense of risk causing an increased predisposition to both emotional and physical pain.

One of the most recent investigation used the so called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in order to track changes in brain functioning in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and healthy people. Magnetic resonance imaging showed lessened activity in the insula, corpus amygdaloideum and brain stem, moderate intestinal pain was stimulated in healthy women. These areas are associated with emotion and pain. Irritable bowel syndrome patients did not reveal lessened activity in these areas. So it is assumed that they are more steadfast and patient towards pain than people without this gastrointestinal disorder. The guesswork that the faults in experiencing pain are the basic cause of irritable bowel syndrome has appeared a long time ago. But this time it was scientifically proven that some changed brain functioning really occurs in case of IBS. So now scholars do their best to develop such IBS treatments that will affect brain centers or peripheral nerves that stand for the abnormal signaling.

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