Your IBS may show up on a brain scan!

X-ray picture of a person's brain and bowels connected.

More studies that show there is a connection between the brain and IBS.
© Can Stock Photo

For as long as I can remember, I’ve read that irritable bowel syndrome has no organic cause. I argued on one of the pages around here, that this was impossible. There had to be some kind of change or things would, be the same. I.e, no IBS.

It turns out that science may have been looking in the wrong place.

A study finds changes in brain structures.

That’s right, they’ve actually found changes in the brains of people with IBS symptoms.

Different parts of your brain do different jobs. The study names the different parts, but I’m going to spare you the long latin names I can’t pronounce. If you want that see the links below.

In short here’s what researchers found:

They did a brain scan on people with IBS and people without IBS.

For people with IBS, some parts of the brain were smaller or larger than people without IBS.

The part of the brain that receives information from the bowels was affected. So were the parts that regulate pain.

The parts of the brain that control pain were “thinned”, meaning there was less brain tissue than expected/normal.

Some parts of the brain that deal with emotions were also affected.

What this means to you:

The part of your brain that talks to your bowels has probably changed. You’re probably getting more and louder pain signals from your bowels.

Next, the parts of your brain that fight off pain are probably smaller than they should be. That may leave you with less ability to cope with the increased signals coming from your bowels.

You may have trouble with emotions, anxieties, and depression due to changes in gray matter that deal with emotion control.

So there is real evidence of IBS?

Yes there is.

After dealing with amazing amounts of pain, and other IBS symptoms, many people are sent to a psychiatrist.

We’ve been told there is no evidence of damage, and sometimes had the issue swept under the rug.

Many of us IBS sufferers have been told it’s “all in our heads”.

Well maybe it is after all. But it’s in the structure of our brains.

What other kinds of pain do you have?

Different discussions of the study suggest that, with less brain tissue in the pain control areas, people may have other kinds of unexplained pain besides IBS pain.

In fact the same kind of pain center changes have been found in people with hip pain, back pain, migraines, and certain kinds of jaw pain.

I wouldn’t be surprised if many IBS sufferers have other kinds of chronic pains as well.

So how did we get IBS in the first place?

This is something that mystifies me. Here’s why:

Many people get IBS after having an attack of the “stomach flu” (gastroenteritis).

Others get IBS after getting a common parasite called giardia.

How are these type of events changing the brain???

Is it that bowel pains, etc., change the brain, leading to more bowel pains?

I guess we’ll have to wait for science to figure that out.

Thanks from this IBS sufferer to the people at UCLA, and Canada’s McGill University, that ran the study

If you have any ideas on this or anything else you want to say, please use the comments section below