If you have difficulty in emptying your bladder and feel constipated, then you may have a higher chance of having herpes infection, revealed a new study.
Herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by two types of viruses namely herpes simplex type 1 and type 2. It is generally asymptomatic, but a new study has found a link between this viral infection and constipation.
‘Suffering from unexplained constipation? Then check for herpes infection as the virus can infect the nerves of the colon by passing through the spinal cord.’
The Yale University study led by Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology, reported that herpes virus can pass to the colon through the spinal cord, causing damage to the colonic nerves, resulting in constipation.
They examined mice infected with herpes simplex type 1 virus. It is the leading cause of genital herpes. One-third of the mice was found to have constipation. Herpes virus infected the genitals of the mice and from there it passed into the colon through the spinal cord.
Once the virus reached the colon, it killed neurons of the colon, which, in turn, affected contraction of the muscles. Most of the mice developed a condition called as toxic megacolon — a potentially fatal complication of inflammatory bowel disease.
The mice were given laxatives to prevent further digestive complications such as colorectal cancer. Researchers suggested that doctors must check for viral infection in any person with unexplained constipation. The study was published in the Journal Cell Host & Microbe
"The key findings is that there is this unexpected infection in the neurons in the colon wall after herpes infection," said Iwasaki. "Other members of the herpes virus family, including Epstein-Barr virus, chicken pox virus, and cytomegalovirus have been found in the neurons of the colon of people with unexplained chronic constipation. When doctors can't figure out the cause of these chronic intestinal conditions, one thing to look at is a viral infection."