Study reveals irritable bowel syndrome as a long COVID symptom

IBS as a potential long-term outcome of COVID-19.


A recently launched study is poised to investigate the potential connection between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and long COVID. With the ongoing global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are delving deeper into the various symptoms and complications that can persist long after the initial infection. This study aims to shed light on whether IBS can be considered one such symptom of long COVID.

Researchers at the University of Arizona have received $3.2 million from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for a five-year study. They look at stomach problems like irritable bowel syndrome as a part of long COVID.

The study, led by Dr. Kristen Pogreba-Brown, is called CoVHORT. They are following over 9,000 people in Arizona to learn about long-term COVID-19, how it affects health after COVID-19, and what treatments might help.

Pogreba-Brown said, “We have an outstanding team of researchers, staff, and students working on the CoVHORT study and investigating a range of long COVID symptoms. And, we have a large, diverse group of participants, so we gather crucial data that deliver answers about specific symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and help find effective treatments.”

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects around 10-15% of people in the U.S. It can lower their quality of life. IBS is the most common group of stomach problems, and it’s connected to how the gut and brain work together.

Sometimes, IBS can happen after having infections from bacteria, protozoa, or viruses in your stomach. The chance of getting IBS after a stomach infection is about 9%. COVID-19 is known to cause many stomach symptoms, like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. More than 60% of COVID-19 patients have these symptoms.

It’s essential to study how COVID-19 affects the chances of getting IBS or worsening IBS symptoms. This research could help many people because COVID-19 has affected so many, and some still have stomach problems after they recover from the virus.

A new study, part of the Arizona CoVHORT research, will help to understand COVID-19-related stomach problems better. They’ll look at:

  1. How often do stomach problems like IBS happen after COVID-19 compared to those who didn’t get COVID-19?
  2. Whether people who had IBS before COVID-19 have worse symptoms after.
  3. Why IBS might happen after COVID-19, including differences in gut bacteria, the body’s response to these bacteria, and specific blood markers.

This research is necessary because many still suffer from long COVID and its effects even though the pandemic isn’t as bad as before. The study aims to find answers and treatments for these problems.

As the global medical community continues to grapple with the complex and evolving nature of COVID-19, studies like this one are essential for shedding light on lesser-known aspects of the disease. By investigating the relationship between irritable bowel syndrome and long-term COVID-19, this study aims to provide valuable insights that could improve the management and treatment of long-term COVID-19 symptoms.


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