Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition, affecting an estimated 15 percent of all Americans, with associated costs for care and lost productivity topping $21 billion. Although not life threatening, IBS is a chronic condition that has no known cure.
William D. Chey, MD, a Gastroenterologist and Professor of Internal Medicine, heads research looking at dietary and lifestyle interventions for IBS to pave the way toward evidence-based, life-changing nutritional and behavioral solutions, both for flares and to prevent and cure IBS.
Functional gastrointestinal disorders, or FGIDs, affect more than a third of the US population. These conditions, though not associated with cancer or increased mortality, significantly reduce quality of life and work productivity. FGIDs also lead to billions of dollars in health care expenditures on an annual basis. Of the FGIDs, the irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is the most common. IBS is defined by the presence of typical symptoms, including abdominal pain and altered bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, or a mixture of both).
In the past 20 years, we have made significant strides in diagnosing and treating patients with IBS. Our understanding of the underlying causes of IBS symptoms has grown at a remarkable rate. Particularly notable is the transition of our thinking of IBS as a primarily psychosomatic condition to one that results from a complex interplay between environmental factors like food and stress, genetic factors, gut factors like the microbiome, immune activation and permeability, and brain factors like mood and pain processing.
- Determining the role of the low FODMAP diet for abdominal pain and bloating in patients with IBS and constipation.
- Conducting studies to determine the most efficient and effective means of reintroducing FODMAPs in patients who improve after excluding FODMAPs from their diet.
- Identifying biomarkers that will help health care providers to determine which IBS patients are most likely to improve with the low FODMAP diet.
- Conducting a clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of psyllium, prunes, and kiwi as treatments for chronic constipation. This will be the first US trial to evaluate kiwi for constipation.
- Determining whether breath testing identifies IBS patients who are more likely to improve with the non-absorbed antibiotic rifaximin.
- Determine the best test to identify patients with intestinal enzyme deficiencies – an enzyme called sucrase isolmaltase is responsible for breaking down table sugar and starch. Lack of this enzyme can cause symptoms that are identical to lactose intolerance and may be an unrecognized cause of IBS.
- Testing a novel IgG antibody test that can identify patients with food sensitivities.
- Evaluating the efficacy of a novel vibrating capsule in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation.
- Participating in phase 2 and phase 3 multicenter trials evaluating novel drugs targeting belly pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Testing the efficacy of a novel, disposable device for patients with fecal incontinence.
- Invention of a point of service, disposable device which can identify patients with a type of chronic constipation that is best treated with physical therapy and biofeedback as opposed to laxatives. We are currently conducting a validation study in patients.
- Assisting in the development of a novel prebiotic that alters the gut microbiome in a way that improves the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
- Exploring a magnification endoscopy technique called confocal laser endomicroscopy to identify food sensitivities in patients with upper and lower GI symptoms.
This increase in knowledge has led to a paradigm shift in the treatment of IBS patients. Twenty years ago, doctors and scientists would have scoffed at the suggestion of treating an IBS patient with the low FODMAP diet, probiotics, or antibiotics. Yet, in 2019, these treatments are now accepted as effective, evidence-based options for IBS patients. Though we have made incredible strides in the laboratory and the clinic, we still have a long way to go. In the coming years, our group will work tirelessly to translate the emerging science to practical solutions that positively impact patients' lives. We are committed to staying true to the mantra: “Lead not follow”.
- We will create and/or validate more holistic management models that incorporate not only medications but also diet, behavioral, and complementary/alternative strategies.
- Through research conducted by our group and collaborations with other academic institutions and industry partners, we will identify biomarkers that will move the diagnosis of patients with FGIDs beyond symptoms alone. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the evolution of clinical care from the current model, which relies almost exclusively on symptoms to choose a treatment for a patient, to a “precision medicine” model in which the choice of therapy will be based on symptoms combined with biomarkers, which will utilize genetics, microbiome, and metabolomics to choose the right therapy for the right patient.
- We will leverage technology to transform the way that doctors and patients interact and learn from one another. Using novel eHealth platforms, we will utilize big data to transform the clinical care landscape from empirical to precision medicine.
About William D. Chey, MD
William D. Chey, MD, is a Gastroenterologist and Nostrant Professor of Gastroenterology & Nutrition Sciences, Director of the GI Physiology Laboratory, Director of the Digestive Disorders Nutrition & Lifestyle Program, and Co-Director of the Michigan Bowel Control Program.
Dr. Chey received his BA degree from the University of Pennsylvania and medical degree & training in internal medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine. He went on to complete a fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Chey is a former co-editor of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, a recipient of the Dean’s Outstanding Clinician Award, and a member of the U-M League of Research Excellence.
Meet the Team
- William D. Chey, MD - Research Group Leader
- Jason R. Baker, PhD
- Amanda Dixon, RDN
- Shanti L. Eswaran, MD
- Kimberly N. Harer, MD
- Emily Haller, MS, RDN
- Christina Jagielski, PhD
- Jacob E. Kurlander, MD
- Stacy B. Menees, MD, MS (CRDSA)
- Borko Nojkov, MD
- Ibironke Oduyebo, MD
- Megan E. Riehl, PsyD
- Richard J. Saad, MD, MS
"I met Dr. Chey while working as a medical assistant in the Medical Procedures Unit (MPU) at UofM when I was in nursing school. I always had a "sensitive" stomach, most likely IBS, as diagnosed by other physicians throughout my childhood. The summer of 2006 was quite different, though. I could never be far from a bathroom, and I lost 10–15 lbs in a matter of just three months. I finally got up the courage to ask Dr. Chey for some advice. Lucky for me, he was doing a study on gastrointestinal disorders using a blood test. Turns out, I got paid $20 to be in the study, and I received my diagnosis of celiac disease, which has ultimately changed my life for the better. Most people wouldn't see this as a good thing, but I feel extremely fortunate to have discovered my diagnosis in just three short months, and I am able to control my symptoms on diet alone without any medications. I immediately felt like a completely new person, and my diagnosis has completely changed how I view gut health and what I am putting in my body. I am forced to read labels, and I live my life by eating whole, unprocessed foods. My energy levels have drastically improved, and I have also had improvements in my hemoglobin, iron, and cholesterol levels. Fast forward to twelve years later, and I am now a CRNA at UofM where I was lucky enough to run into Dr. Chey while providing anesthesia for his patients. Coming full circle, I can't tell him enough how grateful I am for his diagnosis so long ago that has completely changed my life in the best way."
- Microbiome-Based Treatment Strategies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- U-M Food for Life Kitchen – Bringing the Benefits of Culinary Medicine to Ann Arbor
- FOOD: The Main Course to Digestive Health - First comprehensive training course for GI dietitians in the United States.
- Nearly All Americans Fail to Eat Enough of This Actual Superfood - While we obsess about carbs and protein, we’ve ignored fiber — at our peril.
- Raise IBS Awareness - Raise awareness of IBS by watching and sharing this video.
- My GI Nutrition - A comprehensive low FODMAP diet educational website.
- What's the Big Deal with Gluten - A TED Ed video to help patients understand why wheat can cause gut distress. Lesson by William D. Chey, MD.
- Low FODMAP Diet and IBS - Learn about the favorable effect of a low FODMAP diet on IBS in two FOX 2 Detroit interviews with William D. Chey, MD and Lauren Van Dam, RD.
- A mobile app that will help patients to assess their GI symptoms, determine whether their symptoms are related to meals, learn about the ESP low FODMAP program (Elimination, determine Sensitivities, Personalize the low FODMAP diet), and track their progress.
- Chey WD, Lacy BE, Cash BD, Epstein M, Corsino PE, Shah SM. A novel duodenal-release formulation of a combination of caraway oil and L-menthol for the treatment of functional dyspepsia: an RCT. Clin Translational Gastroenterol. 2019; in press.
- Eswaran S, Dolan R, Ball S, Jackson K, Chey WD. The impact of a 4 week low FODMAP diet on nutrient intake in a sample of US adults with IBS-D. J Acad Nutrition Dietetics. 2019, in press.
- Zheng T, Eswaran S, Chey WD, Merchant J, D’Amato M. Reduced efficacy of low FODMAP diet in patients with IBS-D carrying sucrase-isolmaltase hypomorphic variants. Gut 2019, in press.
- Ahmed S, Almario CV, Chey WD, Robbins LA, Chang B, Ahn J, Ko J, Gu P, Siu A, Spiegel BMR. Electronic patient agenda forms: comparing agreement between the reason for specialty consultation reported by referring providers and patients. Inform Health Social Care. 2018; 44(1):105-113.
- Almario C, Chey WD, Spiegel BMR. Burden of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in the United States: Results of a Nationally Representative Survey of Over 71,000 Americans. Am J Gastroenterol 2018; 113:1701-10.
- Brenner D, Dove LS, Andrae DA, Covington PS, Gutman C, Chey WD. Radar plots: a novel modality for displaying disparate data on the efficacy of eluxadoline for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2018; 30:e13331.
- Fodor A, Pimentel M, Chey WD, Lembo A, Golden PL, Isreal RJ, Carroll IM. Rifaximin is associated with modest, transient decreases in multiple taxa in the gut microbiota of patients with diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Gut Microbes 2018, in press.
- Garcia-Etxebarria K, Zheng T, Bongfiglio F, Chey WD, et al. Increased prevalence of rare sucrase-isomaltase (SI) pathogenic variants in irritable bowel syndrome patients. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018, in press.
- Menees S, Almario CV, Spiegel BMR, Chey WD. Prevalence and predictors of bowel incontinence: Results from a population-based survey of over 71,000 Americans. Gastroenterology 2018, in press.
- Lenhart A, Ferch C, Shaw M, Chey WD. Use of dietary management in irritable bowel syndrome: Results of a survey of over 1500 U.S. gastroenterologists. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2018, in press.
- Chey SW, Chey WD, Saini SD, Weissman A, Harris L, Menees S. US primary care providers use of over-the-counter medications for gastroesophageal reflux disease and chronic constipation. J Managed Care 2017; 9:116-21.
- Kurlander J, Chey WD, Morris C, Drossman D, et al. Development and validation of the Patient-Physician Relationship Scale (PPRS) among patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2017; 28:e13106.
- Chey WD, Dove LS, Andrae A, Covington PS. Early response predicts a sustained response to eluxadoline in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea in two Phase 3 studies. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2017; 45:1319-28.
- Eswaran S, Chey WD, Jackson K, Pilai S, Chey SW, Han-Markey T. A Low FODMAP Diet improves quality of life, reduces activity impairment, and improves sleep quality in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea: Results from a US randomized controlled trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15:1890-9.
- Chey WD, Lembo AJ, Phillips JA, Rosenbaum DP. Tenapanor treatment of patients with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: A phase 2, randomized, placebo-controlled efficacy and safety trial. Am J Gastroenterol 2017; 112:763-74.
- Chey WY, Chang V, Hoellrich CM, Lubkin M, Corcoran D, Chang TM, Chey WD. Mega-cecum: An unrecognized cause of symptoms in some female patients with uro-gynecological symptoms and severe slow- transit constipation. Dig Dis Sci 2017; 62:217-23.
- Ford AC, Chey WD. Screening for celiac disease in irritable bowel syndrome: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Gastroenterol 2017; 112:65-76.
- McRorie J, Chey WD. Fermented fiber supplements are no better than placebo for a laxative effect. Dig Dis Sci 2016; 61:3140-46.
- Eswaran S, Chey WD, Han-Markey T, Ball K, Jackson K. US, randomized, controlled trial comparing the low FODMAP diet vs. modified NICE guidelines in adults with IBS-D. Am J Gastroenterol 2016; 111:1824-32.
- Baker JR, Eswaran S, Saad R, Menees S, Fenner D, Chey WD. Improvement in abdominal symptoms after biofeedback therapy in patients with dyssynergic defecation. Clin Translational Gastroenterol 2015; 6:e105. PMID: 26225863
- Heidelbaugh JJ, Stelwagon MA, Miller SA, Shea EP, Chey WD. The spectrum of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation: US survey assessing symptoms, care seeking, and disease burden. Am J Gastroenterol 2015; 110:580-7. PMID: 25781368
- Menees S, Powell C, Kurlander J, Goel A, Chey WD. A Meta-analysis of the utility of C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, fecal calprotectin, and fecal lactoferrin to exclude inflammatory bowel disease in adults with IBS. Am J Gastroenterol 2015; 110:1243-44. PMID: 25732419
- Almario C, Chey WD, Kuang A, et al. Computer algorithm vs physician-documented history of presenting illness (HPI): Results of a blinded comparison. Am J Gastroenterol 2015; 110:170–179. PMID: 25461620
- Webster L, Chey WD, Tack J, et al. Randomised clinical trial: long-term safety and tolerability of naloxegol in patients with pain and opioid-induced constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014; 40:771-9.
- Chey WD, Webster L, Sostek M, Lappalainen J, Barker PN, Tack J. Naloxegol for opioid-induced constipation in patients with noncancer pain. N Engl J Med 2014; 25:2387-2396. PMID: 24896818
- Jones MP, Chey WD, Singh S, Gong H, Shringarpure R, Hoe N, Chuang E, Talley NJ. A biomarker panel and psychological morbidity differentiate the irritable bowel syndrome from health and provide novel pathophysiological leads. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014; 39:426-437.
Editorials, Reviews, and Guidelines
- Shah ED, Farida JD, Menees S, Chey WD. Examining balloon expulsion testing as an office-based, screening test for dyssynergic defecation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Gastroenterol 2018; 113:1613-20.
- Menees S, Chey WD. The gut microbiome and irritable bowel syndrome. F1000 Research, 2018: https://f1000research.com/articles/7-1029/v1.
- Dolan R, Chey WD, Eswaran S. New insights on the low FODMAP diet for IBS. Exp Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018; 12:607-15.
- Staudacher H, Chey WD. Design of clinical trials assessing the efficacy of diet interventions for GI diseases. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018, in press.
- Chey WD. Sucrase isomaltase deficiency: hiding in plain sight? J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2018, in press.
- Dionne J, Ford AC, Yuan Y, Chey WD, Lacy BE, Quigley EMM, Moayyedi P. A systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of a gluten free diet and a low FODMAP diet in treating symptoms of IBS. Am J Gastroenterol 2018; 113:1290-1300.
- Ford AC, Moayyedi P, Chey WD, Harris LA, Lacy BE, Saito YA, Quigley EMM. American College of Gastroenterology Monograph on the Management of IBS. Am J Gastroenterol Suppl. 2018; 113:1-18.
- Camilleri M, Ford AC, Mawe G, Dinning PG, Rao S, Chey WD, Lembo A, Fadok T, Chang L. Chronic Constipation. Nat Rev Dis Primers 2017, 3:article number 17095.
- Lenhart A, Chey WD. A systematic review of the effects of polyols in gastrointestinal health and irritable bowel syndrome. Adv Nutrition, 2017;8:587-96.
- Chey WD, Leontiadis G, Howden C, Moss S. American College of Gastroenterology Practice Guideline: Management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017; 112:211-38.
- Chey WD, Whelan K. Dietary guidelines for irritable bowel syndrome are important for gastroenterologists, dietitians and people with irritable bowel syndrome. J Human Nutrition Dietetics 2016; 29:547-8.
- Spencer M, Gutpta A, Van Dam L, Shannon C, Menees S, Chey WD. Artificial sweeteners: A systematic review and primer for gastroenterologists. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2016; 22:168-80.
- Gupta A, Chey WD. Breath testing for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: A means to enrich rifaximin responders in IBS patients? Am J Gastroenterol 2016; 111:305-6.
- Chey WD. David Sun Lecture: Food - The main course to wellness and illness in patients with IBS. Am J Gastroenterol 2016; 111:366-71.
- Mearin F, Lacy B, Chang L, Chey WD, Lembo A, Simren M, Spiller R. Bowel Disorders. Gastroenterology 2016; 150:1393-1407.
- Chey WD, Eswaran S, Kurlander J. Management of irritable bowel syndrome. JAMA, 2015;313(9):949-958.
- Spencer M, Chey WD, Eswaran S. Dietary renaissance in IBS: Has food replaced medications as a primary treatment strategy? Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol 2014; 12:424-40.
- Eswaran S, Guenther A, Chey WD. Emerging therapies for chronic constipation and IBS-C. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2014;20:141-51.
- Saad R, Chey WD. Breath testing for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: maximizing test accuracy. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014;12(12):1964-1972.
- Eswaran S, Muir J, Chey WD. Fiber and functional gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108:718-27.
- Chey WD. The role of food in the functional gastrointestinal disorders: Introduction to a manuscript series. Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108:694-7.
- Eswaran S, Goel A, Chey WD. What role does wheat play in the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome? Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013; 9:85-91.
- Greenberg ER, Chey WD. Defining the role of sequential therapy for H. pylori infection. Lancet 2013; 381:180-2.
- Chey WD. Foreword: The IBS elimination diet and cookbook. Catsos P. Harmony Books, New York, 2017.
- Chey WD. Foreword: A Teen’s Guide to Gut Health. Meltzer Warren R. The Experiment, New York, NY, 2017.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Rome IV: Diagnostic Questionnaires and Tables for Investigators and Clinicians, 1st Edition, 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Rome IV: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders for Primary Care and Non-GI Clinicians. 1st Edition, 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Rome IV: Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Disorders for Gut-Brain Interaction, 1st Edition, 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Rome IV: Diagnostic Algorithms for Common GI Symptoms. 2nd Edition, 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction. Special Issue Gastroenterology; Vol 150, Number 6, May 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Multi-Dimensional Clinical Profile for the Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. 2nd Edition. Ed: Rome Foundation, Raleigh, NC, 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Rome IV: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction. 4th Vol 2, Edition, 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Rome IV: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction. 4th Edition, 2016.
- Chey WD. Contributing Editor, Multi-Dimensional Clinical Profile for the Functional Gastrointestinal Disoders. 1st Edition. Ed: Rome Foundation, Raleigh, NC, 2014.
- Chey WD. Foreword: The Complete low-FODMAP Diet. Shepherd & Gibson. The Experiment, New York, New York, 2013.
Visiting Professorships since 2016
- “Embracing Change: The key to a long, happy career in gastroenterology” Fellows Graduation Ceremony, Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, June 14, 2019.
- “Management of IBS: Thinking Outside of the Colon” ACG Edgar Achkar Visiting Professor, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, June 7, 2019.
- “Management of IBS: Thinking Outside of the Colon” Visiting Professor, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, May 8, 2019.
- “Holistic management of IBS” Kirkendall Visiting Professor, University of Texas Houston, Houston, TX, April 18, 2019.
- “Integrative care model for IBS” Visiting Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, April 12, 2019.
- “Nonpharmacological therapies for IBS” Visiting Professor, Brook Army Medical Center, San Antonio, TX, April 5, 2019.
- “Food – at the crossroads of GI wellness and illness” Visiting Professor, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ, November 15, 2018.
- “The evidence supporting diet therapies for IBS” Visiting Professor, Cook County Health and Hospitals System, Chicago, IL, June 15, 2018.
- “Food for life – the role of diet in IBS” Visiting Professor, Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, May 24, 2018.
- “Role of diet in the pathogenesis and treatment of IBS” Visiting Professor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, April 6, 2018.
- “The role of diet and nutrition in the pathogenesis and treatment of IBS”, Visiting Professor, St Louis University Medical Center, St. Louis, MO, September 8, 2017.
- “How do we apply Rome IV in everyday practice?”, When should we stop studying a patient with IBS Utility of biomarker in IBS”, “State of the Art: Management of IBS”, “Interactive Clinical Case: Panel Discussion”. Auditorio Universidad Catolica Argentina, Puerto Madero, Argentina, April 20-21, 2017.
- “Food – the main course to digestive health and disease”, “Update on the management of H. pylori infection”, Rome Foundation Visiting Professor, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, April 17, 2017.
- “The Emerging Role of Diet in the Pathogenesis and Management of IBS”, “Case presentations of patients with persistent H. pylori infection”, Rome Foundation Visiting Professor, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FLA, January 6, 2017.
- “Food: at the intersection of wellness and GI disease” Visiting Professor: University of Southern Alabama, Mobile, AL, September 28-29, 2016.
- “Food as Medicine: The changing face of GI Nutrition” Rome Foundation Visiting Professor: University of Alabama Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, September 26, 2016.
- “Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome”, “How health information technology will transform Gastroenterology”, “Diagnosis of IBS in the Rome IV era”, “The University of Michigan experience with the low FODAMP diet for IBS” Alfred Hospital WTMS Visiting Professor, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, July 11-22, 2016.
- “How diet is changing the treatment paradigm for Irritable Bowel Syndrome”. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, June 7, 2016.
- “The emerging role of diet and lifestyle in the pathogenesis and treatment of IBS” Division of Gastroenterology, Thomas Jefferson Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, April 20, 2016.
- “Food: at the intersection of disease and wellness” and “Update on the management of IBS” Advocate Lutheran General Health System, Park Ridge, IL, March 23, 2016.
- “The emerging role of food in the pathogenesis and treatment of IBS”. CAG Visiting Professor, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, January 15, 2016.