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Obesity carries increased diarrhoea risk

14 Oct 2019

Obesity appears to have a positive association with chronic diarrhoea, independent of several known confounding factors, as shown in a study.

Researchers used data from the 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and identified 5,126 respondents who completed the bowel health questionnaire (BHQ), were ≥20 years of age, and had no prior history of inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease or colon cancer.

Of the respondents, 70 (1.40 percent) were underweight, 1,350 (26.34 percent) were normal weight, 1,731 (33.77 percent) were overweight, 1,097 (21.40 percent) were obese and 878 (17.13 percent) were severely obese.

Chronic diarrhoea was present in 8.5 percent of obese and 11.5 percent of severely obese individuals as compared to only 4.5 percent of normal weight individuals. Stepwise regression showed severe obesity to be independently associated with increased risk of diarrhoea. Factors such as dietary, lifestyle, psychological and medical comorbidities were included in the analysis as potential confounders.

The present data indicate that the risk of diarrhoea increases with severity of obesity, the researchers said. Future studies should explore the underlying physiologic mechanisms of the association between obesity and chronic diarrhoea.

While not clearly understood, the mechanisms by which obese individuals are likely to have chronic diarrhoea may involve bile acid malabsorption, faster colonic transit, and increased intestinal permeability, microbial dysbiosis and endotoxemia (ie, increased levels of lipopolysaccharide).  [Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2013;38:967‐976; Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2008;295:G382‐388; Int J Endocrinol 2018;2018:4095789]

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Most Read Articles
Roshini Claire Anthony, Yesterday

Patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast or haematological cancers could potentially reduce their risk of chemotherapy-related cardiotoxicity with the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ARBs), or beta-blockers as primary prevention, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis presented at the recent EuroEcho 2019 conference.

6 days ago
Men who undergo flexible cystoscopy, particularly with a longer dwell time, may benefit from intraurethral lidocaine as it provides significant pain reduction, suggest the results of a meta-analysis. Evidence is lacking for other tested interventions.
Tristan Manalac, 2 days ago
Users of electronic nicotine delivery systems are likely to have received a diagnosis of clinical depression in the past, according to a recent study.
Pearl Toh, 5 days ago
Getting just under one extra hour of sleep per night can go a long way for the health of college students, who are often sleep-deprived, a study suggests.