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How is serotonin related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Patricia Raymond, MD
Gastroenterology
Serotonin is one of the many chemicals that helps the gut to contract properly to produce peristalsis, the "milking" motion that moves your food from your mouth to your posterior. In addition, it is one of the chemicals in your gut responsible for the transmission of pain sensations up your spinal column to be perceived by your brain. Serotonin is found in the brain as well, but of the eight receptors specially designed to attach to serotonin, numbers 3 and 4 are in the gut, 1 and 2 are in the brain. The different drugs used for serotonin-related diseases, which include migraines and depression, as well as IBS, work solely on their designated receptors.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.