Why OpsisDx? IBS

‘Why OpsisDx?’ is a blog series written by people part of the Entopsis-verse and offers insights into potential OpsisDxTM addressable medical conditions.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most commonly encountered conditions in primary care and gastroenterology clinics. This condition has a prevalence of around 10-15% worldwide and, while this condition is not lethal, patients experience a sharp decline in their quality of life because of how debilitating this condition can be (2). Hallmark symptoms of IBS include changes in bowel habits, abdominal bloating and chronic abdominal discomfort/pain. (1). The etiology of this condition is not fully understood yet, as it may be multifactorial and contingent upon genetics, gut motility, inflammation, food sensitivity and microbiome (1).

Currently, there are no specific or highly sensitive biomarkers that could aide in the early diagnosis of this condition. Clinical presentation, i.e., changes in bowel habits or changes in stool appearance are criteria used to standardize and ease this difficult diagnosis (2). Consequently, neither symptoms nor clinical presentation alone can act as complete diagnostic tools, as the sensitivity of these methods fluctuates around 78% with a specificity of 72% (3). 

IBS can be tricky to recognize and assess, as many patients do not seek medical attention right away. However, among those who seek medical attention for gastrointestinal disorders, around 2.4 – 3.5 million annual visits account for IBS (4). The high prevalence of IBS highlights the importance of developing an accurate diagnostic method that could possibly enable patients to start dietary changes and other forms of treatment as early as symptom appear, as well as elucidate on any lifestyle changes that are needed for amelioration of pain, changes in bowel habits and, bloating. 

  1. Defrees, Dean Nathanial, and Justin Bailey. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” Primary care vol. 44,4 (2017): 655-671. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2017.07.009
  2. Rodiño-Janeiro, Bruno K et al. “A Review of Microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Future in Therapies.” Advances in therapy vol. 35,3 (2018): 289-310. doi:10.1007/s12325-018-0673-5
  3. Saha, Lekha. “Irritable bowel syndrome: pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and evidence-based medicine.” World journal of gastroenterology vol. 20,22 (2014): 6759-73. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i22.6759
  4. Understanding IBS. “Statistics”. Aboutibs.Org, 2020, https://www.aboutibs.org/facts-about-ibs/statistics.html.
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