Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is among the most common intestinal maladies and one of the most difficult to treat. No single remedy works for everybody, and there are few drugs created exclusively for IBS symptoms, which include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhoea, and/or constipation.
Unfortunately, the research on the effectiveness of probiotics for IBS has a long way to go before any firm conclusions can be made. Studies to date have used a variety of strains and formulas, so it is difficult to make comparisons. Small sample size and a difficulty in ruling out the effects of placebo are other limitations in the quality of the current body of literature on the subject.
That said, although results have been mixed, most studies have shown a positive effect of probiotics on the variety of symptoms that make up IBS. More importantly, studies have not shown any negative effect on IBS symptoms from taking probiotics.
The Bottom Line
With the hope of a positive benefit, and minimal risk of side effects, probiotics may well be worth trying for your IBS. Stress and anxiety can worsen IBS symptoms. Behavioral therapy can help you cope with these feelings and hopefully reduce some IBS symptoms.
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