Probiotics against IBS

Probiotics, defined as microorganisms with potential therapeutic benefits, are becoming increasingly popular.

Now, a new study finds the probiotic strain B. infantis 35625 shows promise in normalising bowel movement frequency in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients with constipation or diarrhoea.

Reduced IBS symptoms
The study by researchers in Ireland and the UK included 85 women with IBS who received the probiotic, and 80 women with IBS who received a placebo for four weeks. The women who received the probiotic experienced significantly normalised bowel habits - an increased number of bowel movements in constipated patients and a reduced number of bowel movements in those with diarrhoea.

The findings were presented Monday at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting in Honolulu.

Other findings on the use of probiotics in treating IBS were presented at the meeting. Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed seven studies that examined whether probiotics may improve bloating symptoms in IBS patients. The review concluded that probiotics offered only a modest improvement, and that larger trials are needed.

University of New Mexico researchers reviewed eight studies on the safety and efficacy of probiotics in IBS patients. This review found a large variation among the studies, and noted that many of the studies included only a small number of patients.

Larger trials needed
"We found that various probiotic regimens may be useful in IBS, but larger trials are needed to verify findings from the smaller studies we analysed," lead author Dr Paveen Roy said in a prepared statement.

IBS is characterised by recurring symptoms of abdominal discomfort or pain associated with altered bowel habit - constipation, diarrhoea or both. – (HealthDayNews)

Read more: Probiotics

November 2005

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