The role of gut bacteria is to help normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and any imbalance can lead to potential discomfort during digestion. There is a growing body of evidence indicating their complex role in a number of GI disorders including IBS. It is unclear whether the alterations in bacterial flora are a cause or a consequence of the disorder.
If you want to know more about the different kinds of gut bacteria, check out this article.
People with IBS appear to have an altered composition of GI bacteria, specifically a reduction in diversity of bacterial species and an overabundance of some bacterial species. GI bacteria responsible for fermentation of poorly absorbed fermentable carbohydrates may be altered in people with IBS resulting in looser stools and increased gas production. GI bacteria may also play a role in gut motility and the perception of pain due to factors such as stimulation of smooth muscle and bile acid malabsorption.
IBS is also characterized by increased mucosal immune responses due to loss in function of the bowel epithelial barrier could lead to and implies IBS is similar to a milder form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a digestive illness which is characterized by visible changes in the digestive tract.
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