There is a bad bacteria in the colon that is related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Study Identifies Novel Association Between Brachyspira Genus And IBS

Brachispira Bacteria Linked to IBS

The microbes or bacteria and bugs in our large intestine play an important role in so many things. They can play good and bad roles in realms from immunology and gut health to brain an even mood! A Bacteria called Brachuspira genus from the phylum Sprochetes, is known to cause diarrhea and colitis in birds and mammals. In humans, this bacteria can cause spirochaetosis, a chronic watery diarrhea. Intestinal spirochetosis (IS) is an infestation defined by the presence of spirochetes on the surface of the colonic mucosa. The implicated organisms can be Brachyspira aalborgi or Brachyspira pilosicoli.

So what does this bacteria have to do with humans and Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Many Irritable Bowel Syndromes are marked by constipation, bloating and or diarrhea. In a new study of those with and without Irritable Bowel Syndrome- Brachyspira was found in 1/3 of those patients with IBS versus none in those patients free of IBS.

Here is what was found specifically and reported in that study.

Gastroenterology Advisor (12/30, Schad) reports researchers have identified “a novel, strong association…between the Brachyspira genus and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).” They did so after finding “potential associations between mucus-resident microbiota and IBS symptoms by prospectively collecting mucus samples from sigmoid colon biopsies obtained from patients with IBS and volunteers without IBS, and analyzing their microbial protein composition through mass spectrometry.” The study revealed that “potentially pathogenic Brachyspira species in the colonic mucosa of 31% of patients with IBS but not in any individual without IBS.”

The treatment for this bacteria is an eradication therapy with metronidazole.Metronidazole is an antibiotic that is used to treat a wide variety of infections. It works by stopping the growth of certain bacteria and parasites. This antibiotic treats only certain bacterial and parasitic infections.

How might it impact on clinical practice in the foreseeable future?
► The presence of Brachyspira may be used to identify a distinct subset of patients with IBS, who could potentially be responsive to
eradication therapy.
► The relocation of the Brachyspira into goblet cell mucus granules likely represents a novel bacterial strategy to evade antibiotics, which could inform our understanding of other persistent or recurrent mucosal infections.


  1. Weisenberg E. Spirochetosis. website. Accessed December 31st, 2020. LINK:
  2. Jabbar KS, Dolan B, Eklund L, et alAssociation between Brachyspira and irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoeaGut Published Online First: 11 November 2020. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321466. LINK: