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Probiotics for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Yes, you have read that right – probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome…certain strains of this good and friendly bacteria (which can be found naturally in our gut) have been tried and tested when it comes to easing the discomfort and improving the symptoms felt by someone suffering from IBS.

But before we move forward, just what on earth is IBS or irritable bowel syndrome? For those who don’t know it, IBS is a common digestive and intestinal disorder which often characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, drastic changes in normal bowel movement and function and it could also include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and that is just to name a few.

Just how common is this disease you may ask? According to statistics, about one in every five adults in the United States alone suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. YES, you, your relatives, and anyone around you is a potential victim of this functional disorder. And by functional disorder, we mean those deficiencies where no structural abnormalities could be seen whether through x-ray, blood tests, and other medical examinations.

Wondering whether you are already suffering from irritable bowel syndrome? Well, there are a group of syndromes involved. You may have had these symptoms for at least 12 weeks in the past 12 months. As always and as common in most digestive and intestinal disorders, they involve abdominal pain as well as discomfort along with the following characteristics…

- Pain and discomfort which is relieved through defecation.
- Rapid change in the frequency of bowel movements.
- A noticeable change in the appearance of your stools.

Now that we have taken a deeper and more detailed look at irritable bowel syndrome, here’s the more important question that must be lingering at the back of your head – how do probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome work? How can it help alleviate the discomfort and pain?

To answer that, let’s have a closer look at probiotics – probiotics are live microbial organisms that are naturally present and reside in our digestive tract. Fear not…these organisms are friendly and they have been proven to promote health by supressing the growth of harmful bacteria, boosting our bodies defenses, while helping our digestive system perform at its best.

With well over 400 species and strains of bacteria found in the human digestive tract, the balance between beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria is of great importance. Matter of fact, researchers and doctors even think that IBS may have something to do with the deficiency in normal and friendly intestinal bacteria…being outnumbered by gas producing and not so friendly micro organisms.

Different studies and research have shown that probiotics are helpful for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Let’s name a couple of them – in a large study published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology which examined the use of 3 different doses of Bifidobacterium infantis as well as a placebo in 362 women, it was found that (after four weeks of study) the doses of Bifidobacterium infantis…those at 1×10(8) cfu are more effective when it comes to reducing the pain and discomfort experienced by the patients.

In another study, different strains of probiotics – lactobacillus salivarius, bifidobacterium infantis, and more, were tested in 77 people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It was discovered that people who took bifidobacterium infantis showed greater reduction in abdominal pain, bloating, and lesser difficulty in bowel movement.

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