multi-strain

Bathroom sign with text that says, "IBS Sufferer?"

How Probiotics Can Aid IBS Sufferers

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with physicians, pharmacists and patients over the years about the benefits of probiotics. The topic that comes up most frequently when I talk to people is how probiotics help those who suffer daily from symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Routinely, patients consult with gastroenterologists about IBS more than any other condition, and it’s one of the most common problems primary care physicians see too.

As many as 20 percent of Americans experience symptoms of IBS, but a lot of patients still have a hard time recognizing them for what they are.

In fact, a global impact report of IBS estimates that it can take up to four years for a patient to receive an IBS diagnosis and only after undergoing many costly and unnecessary procedures.

Medical prescriptions for IBS

When I became a gastroenterologist, the medical understanding of IBS was very limited. Back then, many health professionals believed the common symptoms of IBS — abdominal pain, gas, constipation and diarrhea — were related to stress.

So, doctors treated stress by prescribing a range of tranquilizers and antidepressants combined with antispasmodics that affected the nerves going into the GI tract.

Nowadays, drug regimens have changed to more targeted IBS medicines like alosetron (Lotronex), eluxadoline (Viberzi), rifaximin (Xifaxan) and lubiprostone (Amitiza).

However, these drugs create their own sets of side effects, including pancreatitis, abdominal pain, nausea and constipation. Also, the kind of drugs doctors prescribe will differ depending on the subtype of IBS.

What about probiotics for IBS sufferers?

The good news for IBS patients who are otherwise healthy: Among the many non-drug therapies used to treat IBS, probiotics rises to the top of the list due to their effectiveness and the lack of drug interactions with other medications.

Probiotics work in versatile ways to reduce IBS symptoms safely. However, the kind of probiotic you take really matters when it comes to treating IBS effectively.

The benefits of multi-strain probiotics are well-documented, as it takes a variety of beneficial bacteria to maintain and protect the balance of good bugs in your gut.

A recent review of studies appearing in the medical journal Nutrients concluded probiotics containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria provided better results in treating IBS.

Overall, seven of those 11 trials reviewed by European researchers found probiotics significantly improved IBS symptoms compared to a placebo.

What’s more, eight of those trials evaluated how IBS patients benefitted from taking a multi-strain probiotic. When IBS patients took a multi-strain probiotic for at least eight weeks, the results were more dramatic and beneficial.

A similar review of studies appearing in Complementary Therapies in Medicine came to the same conclusions about probiotics as a safe and effective treatment for IBS symptoms and abdominal pain too.

The take-home message

Have you been thinking about treating your IBS with a probiotic but don’t know where to begin?

You can start by reading about many more reasons why you need to take a probiotic, not only to relieve your IBS symptoms, but to protect the health of your gut every day.

Populated by more than 1,000 diverse species of bacteria (10 times more than the cells in your body), your gut performs a wide range of duties 24/7 to protect your health.

Taking a multi-strain probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, is a smart and proven way, not only to make a daily difference in your gut health but do a world of good in treating your IBS symptoms too.

Resources

Nutrients

Complementary Therapies in Medicine

American College of Gastroenterology

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Medline Plus

Medical News Now

MedPage Today

News Medical Life Sciences

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

Picky Eater Child Refusing To Eat

Your Picky Eating Kid May Be Experiencing Constipation

Does your child experience constipation?

Like gas, constipation is a pretty common health issue, but another gut-related problem most people, especially kids, don’t like talking about.

More than 18 percent of toddlers and about 14 percent of kids ages 4-18 face problems with constipation, based on recent research.

Some signs your child has issues with chronic constipation — bowel movements occurring no more than twice a week or soiling (unintentional leakage of stool or liquid on the underwear) due to a buildup of stool — are pretty apparent.

Some less noticeable problems kids experience include:

  • Pain in their stomach or while having a bowel movement.
  • Hard-to-pass bowel movements.
  • Holding in stools that can cause complications.

You may be surprised to learn your child’s picky eating habits could explain his/her constipation problems too.

Sensory issues

Underlying sensory issues experienced by preschool-age kids who are developing normally may be playing a key role in chronic constipation, according to a recent study appearing in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“In many cases, chronic constipation might be the first hint that the child also has some sensory issues and could benefit from occupational therapy,” says senior author Dr. Mark Fishbein, a pediatric gastroenterologist and associate professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Fishbein and his team of scientists in Chicago and Miami compared the health of 66 children (ages 3-5) dealing with chronic constipation with an equal number of control subjects with no health issues.

Part of their attention focused on how picky eating showed up in how kids responded to sensory stimuli.

Researchers soon learned that a heightened sensitivity to tastes, odors and textures in foods was the most important factor in predicting a child’s tendency to avoid the bathroom or becoming constipated.

The link between sensory sensitivity and constipation may not be apparent to the naked eye, says Dr. Fishbein. “However, increased sensory sensitivity can create discomfort and lead to avoidance, and we see that response in both food refusal and in the toileting behaviors of children with chronic constipation.”

Because these sensory problems are really common among children, Dr. Fishbein warns that it’s best to address this issue when kids are young, ideally before age 5, before these behaviors become harder to solve.

What parents can do

Treating your child’s constipation will take some time, persistence and patience on your part, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel — literally — if you follow these tips:

  1. Monitor your child’s daily intake of water (give them more) and milk (give them less).
  2. Work with your daughter or son to make regular visits to the toilet (make it fun).
  3. Feed your child foods containing dietary fiber, especially fruits and veggies (more is better).
  4. Don’t overdo the dosage of any laxative suggested by your child’s pediatrician (too much can be dangerous).

Have you considered giving your child a probiotic for constipation too? A recent report featured in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology found probiotics increased the number of times kids pooped each day, which goes a long way toward solving the constipation problem.

EndoMune Jr. Advanced Probiotic Powder (for children up to age 3) and EndoMune Jr. Advanced Chewable Probiotic (for children from ages 3-8) are multi-strain probiotics that contain four key strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that can work wonders in treating constipation.

Scroll to Top