Treating IBS can be a daunting process for doctors, because treatment that works for one patient may not be beneficial to another. For example, while one IBS sufferer may experience frequent attacks of diarrhea, another may have the complete opposite problem and be constipated for days.
Therefore, someone who has been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome needs to seek treatment that is specific to his or her personal symptoms of the disease.
Although some people with IBS prefer medical treatment to help them control their problems, others prefer a more natural method of following tailored diets or taking dietary supplements to control their IBS attacks. One dietary supplement that is becoming a more and more common treatment among IBS sufferers are Probiotics.
What are probiotics?
They are dietary supplements that contain what are considered "good" bacteria and yeast which are naturally found within the body. Probiotics can also be found in natural food sources such as yogurt, sauerkraut and lactobacillus.
The purpose of probiotic bacterial cultures is to help the body's normal occurrence of gut flora in the digestive tract re-establish itself. Although probiotics are not required in order for someone with IBS to remain healthy, it can aid in digestion and help protect the body from the affects of harmful bacteria. In fact, many believe that probiotics actually strengthen the immune system.
Medical researchers are currently studying the effects probiotics have when taken as supplements or food for treating and preventing irritable bowel syndrome.
How can probiotics help treat IBS?
Medical research has found that many people who suffer from IBS are also affected by SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). SIBO occurs when the small intestine has an unnatural overgrowth of large intestine bacteria.
Since this condition stems from an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria which can aggravate symptoms of IBS (particularly diarrhea), probitotic treatment can help replace the "bad" bacteria in the small intestine with "good" bacteria.
Do probiotics actually work?
Yes and no. They seem to be an effective treatment for people who have SIBO, as it has been discovered that probiotics can make very subtle yet important changes in the functioning of a person's immune system. Essentially, it stops IBS from causing the immune system to overreact. However, not all people who have IBS have SIBO. Thus, probiotic treatment would provide no relief of symptoms in these people.
Furthermore, not all probiotics are the same. Different probiatic bacteria have diverse effects on the intestines. Thus, it is important that a doctor prescribe their patient with the appropriate probiotic bacteria in order for treatment to be effective.
Currently there are a number of studies being conducted on different probiotic bacteria. So far, those that have been tested in clinical trials present no harm to IBS sufferers.
Consult your doctor so he or she can prescribe you one of the probiotic treatments that are currently being studied such as:
Probiotics may be the solution that many IBS sufferers have been waiting for.
That being said, the information above is not a substitute for consulting with a medical professional. Always consult your doctor before starting any treatment regardless if it is a medical or an alternative treatment. A specialist can help you find an effective IBS treatment to suit your own unique needs, and will be able to monitor your progress.