The effect of IBS on the brain



IBS symptoms are primarily related to symptoms that appear in the colon and intestines, but some people with IBS may notice other brain-related symptoms, so what does this effect look like? Is there a relationship between IBS and depression? This is what we will talk about in our article.

How does IBS affect the brain?

There is an interrelation between the brain and the digestive system, both affect the functioning of the other, and the interruption of one lead to the disorder of the other. You have irritable bowel syndrome; Even small amounts of gas can cause pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.

What is the nature of the relationship between IBS and the brain?

The enteric nervous system is the link between the digestive system and the brain, or more specifically the nervous system, and is part of the central nervous system. The enteric nervous system controls the work of the digestive system in terms of digestion of food, secretion of various enzymes and stools; The irritation of the irritable bowel therefore sends nerve signals that cause multiple effects in the brain.

In addition, the neurotransmitter serotonin is an important part of the communication between the brain and the digestive system, since 95% of the serotonin in the body is found in the lining of the digestive system. Serotonin controls several important functions of the digestive system. system, including the following:

  • defecation.
  • Intestinal sensitivity to pain.
  • Excretion of fluid in the intestine.

Irritable bowel syndrome negatively affects the amount of serotonin in the body, causing its levels to fluctuate. When the level of serotonin is impaired; This leads to problems with the nervous system, which uses serotonin as a neurotransmitter.

Psychological symptoms caused by irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome causes nerve signals to be sent to the central nervous system via the enteric nervous system, causing a number of psychological symptoms, including:

  • Changes in mood and emotions.
  • have depression
  • have anxiety
  • Cognitive skills are affected, such as:
  • thinking.
  • Memory.

Does depression affect irritable bowel?

Yes, it has been found that people with IBS often show higher levels of depression than healthy people, and in turn, severe depressive symptoms have also been shown to lead to IBS.

Due to the close relationship between depression and cognitive decline, a decrease in the level of intelligence has been observed in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome due to depression and cognitive decline, according to the results of a study. clinical published in the journal (Nutrients) in 2021.

Does Psychotherapy Relieve IBS Symptoms?

Controlling the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome helps improve brain disorders and vice versa also, i.e., relieving the symptoms of one of them improves the symptoms of the other disorder, and that can be explained by the presence of communication between these two systems. as mentioned above and understanding the relationship between the brain and the digestive system helps in understanding the effectiveness of certain treatments for the colon, irritable bowel syndrome, and various colon diseases.

Here are examples of some irritable bowel syndrome treatments that the brain can help us understand:

  • antidepressants
Its role in the treatment of IBS symptoms lies in its effect on nerve cells in the intestinal wall, resulting in a cessation of stimulation of IBS symptoms.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
This helps improve communication between the digestive system and the brain.
  • Medical hypnotherapy.

Is the brain of people with IBS different from that of others?

Yes, because IBS has been found to cause thinning of gray matter in certain areas of the brain, which is a part of the brain that contains a large number of neurons, and affected brain areas include the following:

  • Cerebral excitatory system:
This causes inhibition of the excitatory system in the brain, which increases bowel sensitivity in IBS patients.
  • Areas of emotional control:
Consequently, patients with IBS may experience fear and an inability to cope.
  • Areas of pain control:
Brain thinning in this area was only seen in patients who reported pain as the most bothersome symptom of IBS.

Article summary

The brain and IBS are linked to each other, as IBS causes changes in the brain and can lead to depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. In turn, there are psychological disorders in the brain that lead to irritation of IBS and therefore its treatment should be integrated, including the treatment of IBS symptoms and disorders.


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