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Irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis linked to intestinal fungi

Bacteria in the gut play a crucial role in human health, and imbalances in bacterial populations can contribute to many disorders. New research suggests that fungi, though not as common in the intestines as bacteria, may also play a role in causing and modulating disease.

The results could lead to new treatments for conditions such as irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. An estimated 1.4 million Americans have some form of irritable bowel disease, which can cause inflammation, ulcers in the bowel, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding, fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite. An additional 30,000 cases are diagnosed annually.

An estimated 100 trillion individual bacteria reside in the intestines -- more than the number of cells in the human body. They play crucial roles, such as aiding digestion of food, producing necessary vitamins and suppressing the growth of harmful microbes.
 
 

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