H. pylori and IBS- Are they related?

H. pylori and IBS- Are they related?

Published on Monday, December 12, 2022 by Author Name

Have you been diagnosed with H. pylori, but also have IBS? Have you wondered if the two could be related?

The role of H. pylori in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is greatly unknown and somewhat controversial. I wanted to look at the research to see if there is an association between the two.

If you haven’t read my article on the background of H. pylori, check it out here to better understand this infectious bacteria.

Many research articles have conflicting results - several researchers have reported that H. pylori infection may promote the development of IBS. Some researchers have shown that treatment for getting rid of an H. pylori infection can decrease the future risk of IBS. Yet, on the other hand, some studies show that H. pylori infection does not bring on IBS and H. pylori eradication therapy is not effective in treating IBS.

So confusing. Right?

I looked at several research papers to try to find a general consensus. Let’s break down what some of the research has to say regarding H. pylori and IBS.

A multicenter retrospective study done by Feng Xiong et al. looked specifically at IBS-D (diarrhea). They found that IBS-D patients did not seem to benefit from H. pylori eradication, but found an exception with bloating. They concluded that H. pylori treatment did seem to decrease bloating in those people with IBS-D in long-term (>3 months) follow-up, but not necessarily other IBS-D symptoms.  

A population-based study with long-term follow-up done by Liang et al. found that people with H. pylori infection had nearly a 3.1-fold increased risk of developing IBS than those without H. pylori infection. They felt that chronic inflammation, which is caused by H. pylori infection, may be related to the symptoms that many people with IBS suffer from:

  • atrophic gastritis
  • peptic ulcers
  • disruption of the gastric mucosa
  • nerve remodeling

A controlled clinical trial meta-analysis done by Yan Xiong et al. suggests that H. pylori treatment could reduce IBS symptoms. They presume it is because of gastrointestinal pH and flora changes that come from H. pylori treatment, which may promote the recovery of the intestinal mucosal immune system and the gut-brain axis. Contrary to their findings, a study done by Ng et al. found that part of the treatment for H. pylori (antibiotics) may significantly increase the risk of developing IBS and may aggravate IBS symptoms.

At the end of the day, findings remain controversial regarding the link between H. pylori and IBS. However, after looking at all of the research, it appears beneficial to get treated for H. pylori (if you have it) in those with IBS to decrease symptoms.

If you suspect you may have an H. pylori infection, consider the benefits of getting tested and contact your medical provider for further evaluation. Many serious risks and negative health implications can arise if the H. pylori infection is left untreated.

  1.  Xiong F;Xiong M;Ma Z;Huang S;Li A;Liu S; (n.d.). Lack of association found between helicobacter pylori infection and diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: A multicenter retrospective study. Gastroenterology research and practice. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27493660/
  2.  Liang, C.-M., Hsu, C.-H., Chung, C.-H., Chen, C.-Y., Wang, L.-Y., Hsu, S.-D., Chang, P.-K., Hong, Z.-J., Chien, W.-C., & Hu, J.-M. (2020, May 25). Risk for irritable bowel syndrome in patients with helicobacter pylori infection: A nationwide population-based study cohort study in Taiwan. International journal of environmental research and public health. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7277457.   
  3. Xiong Y;Liu L;Zhou X;Wen Y;Wang R; (n.d.). Anti-helicobacter pylori treatment can effectively improve the clinical remission rates of irritable bowel syndrome: A controlled clinical trial meta-analysis. Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33206753/  
  4. Ng QX;Foo NX;Loke W;Koh YQ;Seah VJM;Soh AYS;Yeo WS; (n.d.). Is there an association between helicobacter pylori infection and irritable bowel syndrome? A meta-analysis. World journal of gastroenterology. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31602169/