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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Irritable Bowel Syndrome post Ecoli poisoning


 tinyrage20 - Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:39 pm

This is my first time posting so bear with me please. I am 27 years old and since about the age of ten I have had sharp bowel pains every few days and have always been very gassy, I didnt know what it was until I did some research recently and saw that they were symptoms of IBS, which my doctor recently comfirmed. About a month ago I contracted some bad Ecoli poinsoning which was like one long sever case of IBS, I finally recovered completely after about a week and feel great. My question is that since my bou with Ecoli I have not had a pain attack and my gas seems to be gone can anyone give me an idea if this is permanent, which I would be very happy with, or is it something temporary?
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:53 am

User avatar Hi,
Thank you for this very thought -provoking post.

Your symptoms seem to have started at 10 years of age. Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) is not diagnosed in preschool-aged and younger children because the diagnosis depends on a child's ability to communicate detailed symptoms.However it is known to occur in older children and teenagers.

The onset of IBS in children may occur following stressful event such as bullying in school, problems at school/home, or a bout of illness such as gastroenteritis, or without any identifiable reason at all. Although stress itself is not considered anymore as the principal cause of IBS, it can perhaps trigger the onset of IBS symptoms.

Because non-specific 'functional symptoms' are a major reasons of referral to gastroenterologists, the efficiency of the medical history to lead to a positive diagnosis of IBS, without resorting to the use of expensive tests, remains a key question.To address this question a series of criteria were published [manning criteria 1978, Rome 1 (1992), Rome II (1999), & Rome III Criteria (2006)]. Unfortunately, there has not been the expected enthusiasm among the GPs and others towards these criteria so far, as they lack sufficient sensitivity and specificity.

Definition of IBS:
- The associated pain symptoms are relieved after a bowel movement,
- The start of the pain is associated with a change in the frequency of bowel movements,
- The start of the pain is associated with a change in the consistency and appearance of the stool.
These symptoms must have existed for a period of at least 12 weeks in the previous 12 months and there is no other obvious cause for these symptoms.
(According to Rome III guidelines, for a child to be diagnosed with IBS, abdominal pain or discomfort must be present at least 1 day per week for a period of 2 months or longer. Two or more of the following must also occur at least 25 percent of the time).

IBS can be
- constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, and
- diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome or
- variable stool pattern type.


I assume that the diagnosis in your case was based on one of these criteria.I am unable to give you an evidence based answer as to how an E.coli infection could have led to the disappearance of your IBS symptoms.

The best i can do is to "postulate" (off the record!) how that could have happened.
1) it is probable that you had a constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome in which abnormally prolonged Intestinal transit times have been noted. By inducing sudden hypermotility, somehow the E.coli infection has managed to correct the underlying cause of this hypomotility.
2) Dysregulation of the 'brain-gut system' has been thought to be one of the factors in causation of IBS. The E.coli infection had somehow managed to set if right.

One must remember that sometimes more serious conditions such as, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease — begin with signs and symptoms similar to IBS. Therefore, should your symptoms return(i hope they don't), you should consult your gastroenterologist.
Thank you again and good luck!

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