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Committee Publishes Comprehensive Report of Gut Microflora and FGIDs

The Role of the Intestinal Microbiota in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

The pathogenesis and pathophysiology of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders remains incompletely understood. During the last years, the role of intestinal microbiota in the development of functional gut problems has received great interest, with a steadily increasing numbers of research projects assessing this. For instance, it has been convincingly demonstrated that one of the most well established risk factors for developing IBS is having a bacterial or viral gastroenteritis. However, why some, but definitely not all, subjects with a gastroenteritis go on to develop longstanding symptoms, whereas others regain their gut health within a week, is not altogether clear. Moreover, there are also suggestions that patients with IBS have abnormal composition of the colonic bacterial flora, as well as controversial findings that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a major factor in IBS. New treatment options fur functional GI disorders based on these findings have also appeared, such as non-absorbable antibiotics, and pre-, pro- and synbiotics. Even though these findings are very intriguing and of great interest for researchers in the field, their relevance of some of these is unclear. Especially, their potential implications for the daily care of our patients are not well established.

The specific goals of the Working team were:

  • To critically review the existing literature on the role of gut microbiota in functional GI disorders (FGIDs), with focus on clinical and translational aspects. This included the relevance of post-infectious IBS, alterations in composition of small and large intestinal microflora in FGIDs, the clinical usefulness of antibiotics and probiotics in FGIDs, as well as a thorough review on the basic/translational science literature with potential clinical relevance for this group of patients. A specific focus was on new methodology to assess the relevance of gut microbiota in FGIDs and potential drawbacks and pitfalls with previously used methods.
  • Based on the literature search, provide recommendations on how to implement the current knowledge into clinical practice, in order to improve the health of our patients.
  • To give recommendations for future work in order to improve the current knowledge on the role of gut microbiota in functional GI disorders.

Magnus Simrén, MD, PhD – Chair


Giovanni Barbara, MD – Co-Chair


Harry Flint, PhD


Brennan Spiegel, MD


Stephen Vanner, MD


Elena Verdu, MD, PhD


Peter Whorwell, PhD


Robin Spiller, MD


Erwin Zoetendal, PhD

The Netherlands
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