I did not have any GI problems until 4 months ago when I have surgery for my appendix. Could a surgery like this result in IBS?
Dr. Drossman: Yes this is possible. We now understand that an infection of the bowel like a bacterial gastroenteritis, procedures on the bowel (including colonoscopy) or operations can cause temporary changes in the intestinal nerves. This physiological effect is called “sensitization”. It explains why people with IBS who have a colonoscopy may have more discomfort during or even after the procedure than someone having a colonoscopy without this condition. When this occurs due to an infection or injury, we call the condition post-infectious or post-inflammatory IBS. This condition produces inflammation where cells accumulate to fight off the infection or heal the injury. However, in persons with IBS, the chemicals that are released by these cells can make the nearby nerves more sensitive. So the intestinal nerves fire more when stimulated such as when the bowels are contracting or carrying food and residue and this leads to pain or diarrhea.