Experts and scientists from 19 European countries are getting together to investigate the causes of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) with the aim of better understanding the condition and improving diagnosis and treatment.

The team is led by researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institutet, both in Sweden. They have set up the Europe-wide network GENIEUR - an interdisciplinary network for researching into the causes of IBS.

GENIEUR, which stands for Genes in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Europe, was funded by the European Science Foundation. Its main aim is to identify the genes and DNA variants which might be linked to a higher risk of developing IBS symptoms.

According to health authorities in Sweden, IBS is the second most common cause of work absenteeism, after common colds - over 10% of all Swedish adults live with IBS.

IBS diagnosis is made after some signs and symptoms are confirmed, including:
Constipation (or a change in bowel habits)
Diarrhea (or a change in bowel habits)
Abdominal pain and cramping - usually relieved by going to the toilet
Flatulence (wind)
A feeling you need to go again after going to the toilet
Passing mucus from the anus
Signs and symptoms are sometimes so severe that the patient's quality of life is affected.

Article Date: 06 Feb 2013, from