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Revista de Gastroenterología del Perú

Print version ISSN 1022-5129


VASQUEZ-RIOS, George; MACHICADO, Jorge D; TERASHIMA, Angelica  and  MARCOS, Luis A. Irritable bowel syndrome and intestinal parasites: a view from South America. Rev. gastroenterol. Perú [online]. 2016, vol.36, n.2, pp.153-158. ISSN 1022-5129.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder of uncertain etiology. Several studies have proposed the possible role of intestinal parasites in the pathogenesis of IBS. We aimed to summarize the epidemiological studies that describe a possible link between intestinal parasites and IBS, with special interest in endemic areas for intestinal parasitism such as South America. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted by using the keywords: irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal parasites, protozoan infection, soil-transmitted helminths and South America. Giardia lamblia may cause IBS symptoms that can persist several years after effective treatment. Dientamoeba fragilis can cause IBS-like symptoms, but low sensitive parasitological techniques may fail to detect it. Entamoeba histolytica can cause a chronic non-dysenteric colitis, but several studies have failed to find an association with IBS. The role of Blastocystis hominis in IBS remains controversial. In addition, epidemiological studies evaluating the effect of soil-transmitted helminths in IBS are scant. Symptoms elicited by intestinal parasites may resemble to those in IBS, especially in endemic areas such as South America, where both the prevalence of IBS and intestinal parasitism are high. Whether these organisms are the cause or contributing factors in IBS remains a subject of study. Routine parasitological examination of stools in individuals who full-fit the criteria for IBS should be included upon initial assessment in endemic countries.

Keywords : Irritable bowel syndrome; Intestinal diseases, parasitic; Protozoan infections; Helminthiasis; South America.

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