Restricted fetal growth raises later risk of IBS

November 1, 2006

The risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is greater among people who weighed less than 1,500 g at birth compared to those who weighed more than 1,500 g, and patients with a lower birthweight tend to develop the condition earlier than their heavier counterparts, according to study findings published online Sept. 28 in Gut.

The risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is greater among people who weighed less than 1,500 g at birth compared to those who weighed more than 1,500 g, and patients with a lower birthweight tend to develop the condition earlier than their heavier counterparts, according to study findings published online Sept. 28 in Gut.

Jennifer R. Harris, PhD, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, Norway, and colleagues conducted a postal questionnaire of 12,700 Norwegian twins born in the 1960s and 1970s, with a 31-item checklist of illnesses and symptoms including IBS. In order to test the association between intrauterine growth and IBS, the investigators analyzed data from discordant monozygotic pairs.

Among the monozygotic pairs, there was 22.4% concordance with IBS, versus only 9.1% among dizygotic twins. After adjustment, subjects with low birthweight (below 1,500 g) were 2.4 times more likely to have IBS than those with a heavier birthweight. The symptoms developed 7.7 years earlier in subjects with low birthweight compared to those patients with higher birthweight.

Bengtson M-B, Ronning T, Vatn M, et al. IBS in twins: genes and environment. Gut. Published Online First: 28 September 2006. doi:10.1136/gut.2006.097287.