IBS or Mind-Triggered Symptoms?

Hide Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Douglas A. Drossman, MD
What we're finding is that there are differences between people with IBS and healthy subjects when you produce a stimulus to them that's bowel related. For example, putting a balloon in the bowel and stretching it to discomfort leads to activation of certain areas of the brain that are associated with a more noxious sense. Greater pain, more hyper vigilance or attention to the bowel, and these are the kinds of things that people with IBS experience. Probably over many years they become conditioned to activate certain areas that are different for people who don't have IBS. And in fact, some of our research is showing that high levels of stress might make these areas become more active. We've done some work to show how a history of abuse in early childhood might lead to activation of the so called bad area of the brain, leading to greater pain with rectal distention. So for the first time, we have a window in understanding the mechanism with which people can have greater bowel pain and bowel dysfunction. And I think that helps to make this much more real to the public, the patients and to doctors.