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New Discovery: Painful Irritable Bowel Syndrome Linked to Chili Pepper Pain Receptor

A new study sheds light on the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome and offers new hope for those living with the condition.  Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive problem that affects up to 15% of adults.  It can cause chronic pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.  Irritable bowel syndrome can affect all aspects of a person’s life, interrupting social, leisure, and work activities.  Irritable bowel pain has been challenging to treat. However, researchers have discovered a link between painful irritable bowel syndrome and the pain receptor for chili peppers.

It is common for people with irritable bowel syndrome to experience burning pain after eating spicy foods.  Pain relievers do little to resolve these symptoms.  Researchers at the Imperial College in London discovered that people with irritable bowel syndrome have an unusually high number of chili pepper pain receptors in their colon.  The pain receptor called TRPV1 is now the focus of drug companies worldwide.  The pharmaceutical companies hope to create medications to block the pain receptor and relieve chronic pain for millions of people with irritable bowel syndrome.

 

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