Haemochromatosis can mimic symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

South African website Business Today is running a story about Roger Keyte, a 50 year old man who visited doctors after experiencing intermittent digestive problems for months. His symptoms ranged from stomach ache to diarrhea. Instead of being diagnosed with an infection, parasites or a functional disorder like Irritable Bowel Syndrome it turns out he had an often overlooked genetic condition called Haemochromatosis(iron overload).

Haemochromatosis is a condition where the body collects to much iron. It usually results in a person’s intestinal tract absorbing iron at an accelerated rate which results in the bloodstream becoming oversaturated with iron. Treatment is usually done via “bloodletting” which is exactly what it sounds like. Bloodletting reduces the amount of iron rich blood in the body & is repeated until the the body’s iron levels return to normal.

Given that Haemochromatosis is one of the more common genetic disorders(1 in 500 Caucasians have some form) patients & doctors should be on the look out for it more often. This means that those who feel they may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or some other digestive ailment should ask their doctor to check their iron levels as their condition could possibly be related to Haemochromatosis.