Estimation of Serum Electrolytes in Cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Healthy Adults: A Comparative Study
Indian Journal of Medical Biochemistry
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most prevalent, multifactorial, heterogeneous and complex disorders that affects up to 1 in 5 people over their lifetime. It significantly reduces patients' quality of life. Individuals diagnosed with IBS have "low-grade intestinal inflammation", and increased intestinal permeability. This can create an electrolyte imbalance. This study was taken up as there is a paucity of literature and controversial reports on serum electrolytes in IBS.
... in IBS. Objectives: The objectives of this study were to estimate serum electrolyte levels in patients with IBS and to compare the same with that of normal healthy adults. Materials and methods: This study was conducted on 108 individuals in the age group of 18-60 years of whom 54 were diagnosed IBS cases and 54 were normal controls. Estimation of serum electrolytes was done with the collected venous blood samples using the Ion selective electrode technique in an electrolyte analyzer. Results: Near normal mean serum sodium levels and a slight decrease in mean potassium level with a statistically significant increase in the mean serum chloride were the findings observed in our study group when compared with the controls. Conclusion: IBS remains an enigmatic cause of significant distress, morbidity and disability. Our study implies that serum electrolyte levels are not greatly altered in IBS cases probably due to the rapid transit in colon, mucoidal consistency and small volume of stools. Lack of specific biomarkers adds to its complexity. Hence a multipronged approach is essential to improve the health related quality of life in these patients. Clinical significance: Since this functional disorder is highly associated with significant emotional distress, impaired health-related quality of life, disability and high health care costs, this study tries to understand the possible changes that can be incorporated in the diet or serum electrolyte supplementation in IBS cases.