Irritable bowel syndrome: a multifactorial disorder still too little known


  • Dietary and psychoemotional support can relieve patients.
  • 5% of the French adult population would have an irritable bowel syndrome according to the French National Society of Gastro-Enterology

Irritable bowel syndrome is not just “in the head“patients… But it is nevertheless a discourse that some people with this pathology, also called functional colopathy, may be faced with.

In fact, there is no biological marker or radiological sign that allows a diagnosis to be made. The latter is therefore based on a clinical examination by eliminating other pathologies.

Irritable bowel syndrome is multifactorial

Functional colopathy does not cause organ damage, does not increase the risk of developing cancer or inflammatory disease, and does not shorten life expectancy. All of this often gives it a reputation as a mild illness due to stress. But that’s not quite right. Indeed, the psyche also weighs in the balance, as in most disorders that affect the intestines. “Frequently, those affected have a traumatic history of aggression or emotional shock.“, explains Professor François Miongastroenterologist and hepatologist, head of the digestive functional exploration department at the University Hospital of Lyon, author of irritable bowel syndrome (ed. Mango).

Diet has an impact on irritable bowel syndrome

But diet, in particular the consumption of ultra-processed foods, can aggravate it or even cause it by disrupting the microbiota, that is to say all the bacteria, fungi and viruses present in our intestines. This disturbance called dysbiosis causes dysfunction of the digestive tract and intestinal permeability which leads to the passage of antigen molecules into the blood, thus creating inflammation at the origin of the various manifestations of irritable bowel.

This pathology causes spasms, bloating, burning and abdominal swelling, constipation or diarrhea and excess gas. But the symptoms are not only digestive: “If the bulk of the pain felt is localized in the abdomen or along the path of the colon, people who are affected by irritable bowel syndrome sometimes also suffer from more or less violent headaches, exhaustion that can go as far as fibromyalgia or depression, gynecological, urinary, joint and muscle problems and hot flashes”, says Professor François Mion.

Several therapeutic routes can relieve patients

In order to relieve patients, experts recommend a multidisciplinary medical approach with the intake of probiotics (good bacteria to rebalance the microbiota), relaxation techniques such as hypnosis and meditation and the adoption of a diet low in Fodmaps. . These are short-chain carbohydrates that ferment on contact with intestinal bacteria causing most digestive disorders. They are found in foods such as dairy products, cereals with gluten and certain vegetables such as cabbage and onions.

Osteopathy can also relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and the fatigue they cause.

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Irritable bowel syndrome: a multifactorial disorder still too little known

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