London: Raising hopes for a new effective treatment for women diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), researchers have identified certain DNA variants that are associated with the intestinal disorder.
Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common gastrointestinal disorder. More than 10 per cent of the population, women more than men, suffer from recurrent symptoms including abdominal pain, gas, diarrhoea, and constipation.
Researchers said that the reason behind the cause of the syndrome was largely unknown till date.
They found DNA variants that associate with increased risk of a doctor’s diagnosis of IBS in women but not in men, specifically from a region on chromosome 9 previously reported to also influence puberty timing in women (age at first menstruation).
“Although we cannot point to individual genes at this early stage, we believe these results are exciting, as they converge with existing data on female preponderance and a role of sex-hormones in IBS,” said Mauro D’Amato, Professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
For the findings, published in the journal Gastroenterology, the team used genotype data from more than 3,00,000 UK Biobank participants in a genome-wide association study (GWAS).
Further, the team followed up the result in 2,045 patients from IBS expert centres in Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and the US.
The researchers observed associations with constipation-predominant IBS as well as harder stools, again only in women.