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Is there an overlap between irritable bowel syndrome and appendicopathy syndrome? A new theory.

Med Hypotheses. 2010 Jul 23;

Authors: de Kok HJ

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The costs of irritable bowel syndrome are huge - personally, socially and financially. Yet despite numerous articles on the subject, an effective treatment seems far away. The hypothesis to be offered in this paper is: that a (laparoscopic) appendicectomy could also be useful in treating at least some of the patients with IBS. Using data I have collected from my own surgery practice over a number of years, I will demonstrate the link between the effective treatment of appendicitis by laparoscopic appendectomy and propose that this could also be a useful treatment for some cases of IBS. The study of symptoms of IBS showed that it shared several of the symptoms found in appendicopathy. The aim of this study is: (1) to confirm the cure rate of the laparoscopic appendectomy in cases of appendicopathy, (2) to determine the overlap of symptoms and (3) examine a new theory - that some cases of IBS originate in the appendix. SUPPORTING DATA: Two succeeding series of patients sent to me for possible appendicopathy were treated with laparoscopic appendectomy if their list of symptoms suggested this was appropriate. The first series comprised 114 patients. The results prompted a second series of 126 patients. This second group was primarily set up to confirm the results obtained from the first group. In our material we found statistical evidence that both groups were comparable indeed. Both groups suffered from not only pain, but also other side effects: indigestion, problems with exercise, feelings of stress, defecation disorders, disuria and loss of energy. The favourable results of the second series were roughly the same as those of the first one. Not only were about 80% of the patients pain free after 6 months or less, but the co-morbidity was gone in about 80% of the patients as well. In the literature, there are several reports describing a favourable outcome of appendicectomy for appendicopathy. Especially positive was one of only a few randomised, double-blinded, placebo controlled, parallel group trials in the history of surgery (Roumen, cs), which proved that "persistent or recurrent lower abdominal pain can be treated by elective appendicectomy with significant pain reduction in properly selected cases". An important part of the symptoms of both syndromes do overlap: (1) pain in the abdomen, varying in strength and more pain after a large meal, (2) changing bowel habits between constipation and diarrhoea, (3) indigestion and (4) stress. CONCLUSION: Taking into account the overlap in several symptoms between IBS and Appendicopathy there is a possibility that both syndromes originate (partly) in the appendix and therefore laparoscopy and appendicectomy may play a part in the treatment of IBS as well. Pilot studies in this direction seem to be indicated.

PMID: 20656412 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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