What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that affects how the GI tract works.* People with IBS have frequent symptoms, but the GI tract does not necessarily exhibit visible damage. Common symptoms reported by patients include: abdominal pain or discomfort; chronic and frequent loose stools; feelings of urgency and incomplete evacuation; bloating and a feeling of fullness. Patients may also complain about other problems such as headaches, fatigue, depression and anxiety as well as adverse responses to food. Many of these symptoms have been linked to abnormal tryptophan metabolism and utilization.† Additional dietary tryptophan does not correct this error in metabolism.‡
The diagnosis of IBS is based on reported symptoms in the absence of other disorders. Please speak to your physician about diagnosing this condition.
*Adapted from: Irritable Bowel Syndrome. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ibs/ Accessed 7/31/2013
† Faure et al. Serotonin signaling is altered in irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea but not infunctional dyspepsia in pediatric age patients. Gastroenterol. 2010;139(1):249-58; Clarke et al.Tryptophan degradation in irritable bowel syndrome: evidence of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activationin a male cohort. BMC Gastroenterol. 2009 Jan 20;9:6. doi: 10.1186/1471 230X 9 6.
‡ Christmas et al. Increased serum free tryptophan in patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowelsyndrome. Nutr Res. 2010;30(10):678-88.