What is the role of visceral hypersensitivity in pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019
  • Author: Mohammad F El-Baba, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Most patients with functional disorders appear to have inappropriate perception of physiologic events and altered reflex responses in different gut regions. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome undergoing balloon distention studies of the colorectum demonstrated awareness of distention and pain at pressures and volumes that were significantly lower than in control subjects. The development of chronic hyperalgesia within the GI tract can be explained by the development of hyperexcitability of neurons in the dorsal horn in response to peripheral tissue irritation or to descending influences from the brain stem. Multiple factors are proposed to alter neuroreceptors and afferent spinal neuron functions. These factors include genetic, inflammatory, local nerve mechanical irritation, motility, and psychological factors.

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