Irritable Bowel Syndrome :: Traveller’s diarrhoea may raise risk of IBS

People who experience traveller’s diarrhoea appear to be at significantly increased risk of subsequently suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition characterised by abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation.

Researchers from the B’nai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, came to this conclusion after studying travellers who had visited a traveller’s clinic for counselling and vaccinations before their trips and had contacted the center again after their return.

The researchers studied 483 travellers, most of who (84 percent) visited Asia. Their mean age was 30.8 years. In all, 412 were followed up after returning home and 405 were contacted 6 months after their return.

The team found that the rate of IBS in travellers who had suffered a bout of diarrhoea during their trip (14 percent) was more than 5 times greater than it was in travellers who had no such diarrhoea (2 percent). Women appeared to be more likely to experience IBS. They accounted for 61 percent of the IBS group, but only 47 percent of the entire cohort.

The researchers also report that, in the diarrhoea group, abdominal pain was significantly more common in those who developed IBS and the duration of diarrhoea was significantly greater.

Clinical Infectious Diseases,
October 2006

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