Probiotics & Irritable Bowel Syndrome
May 1, 2012 - 3:46:10 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Let’s start with the basics: What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Irritable bowel syndrome — commonly called IBS and synonymous with spastic colon, irritable colon and sensitive gut — is the most common chronic medical condition in the Western world.
An estimated 15 million to 30 million people in the United States have IBS. For around 40 percent of IBS patients, the symptoms may be so debilitating they have to take time off from work and curtail their social life. IBS is a true disease of the gut and not a “mental condition,” as some patients and even physicians believe.
Remember that IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion. One needs to consult a physician and make sure they don’t have colon cancer or other GI conditions before being labeled as IBS. IBS symptoms may include abdominal pain (cramping or bloating) associated with change in bowel habits.
Categories of IBS
People with IBS are sorted into one of three groups: constipation predominant, diarrhea predominant or alternators (switch between constipation and diarrhea). If you have any symptoms, you may need to schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist.
In most patients with IBS, there is exaggerated response to stress or dietary indiscretions. It is unclear what causes IBS. What we do know is that in some patients, it follows a bout of diarrhea or food poisoning. In other patients, it may be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Depending on whether your physician says it is IBS, you can be treated for the issue, but there is no actual “cure.” Because stress can make IBS symptoms worse, some adjust their diets and take psychological therapy sessions to lessen the effects of stress. Medicinal treatments may include:
· Fiber: Metamucil, Citrucel and inulin
· Tricyclic antidepressants
How do probiotics fit into the treatment of IBS?
Clinical trials have shown that probiotics can reduce IBS symptoms. Instead of trying a fiber product separately from a probiotic as treatment of IBS, I would recommend choosing a supplement that has a combination of prebiotic fiber and probiotic(s). You get the benefit of fiber and are also able to “feed the gut bacteria” with the prebiotic. I recommend the gourmet probiotic Probulin. Use promo code “Challa” on your order to receive 25 percent off at http://www.probulin.com/.
**Please Note: Always consult your physician before adding a supplement — including probiotics — to your diet.
Dr. Shekhar Challa is a board certified Gastroenterologist, Co-producer of probiotic video game Microwarriors: The Battle Within, and author of the new book Probiotics for Dummies. www.drchalla.com.
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