Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common gastrointestinal disorder. How widespread is hard to determine since a large number of patients with IBS symptoms self-diagnose and also self medicate. IBS can be very hard to live with due to its often debilitating side effects of abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. Each person may experience different side effects and get relief from different medications making it hard for physicians to pinpoint the exact origins in each patient. Many people living with IBS are constantly reaching for over the counter medications to control either their diarrhea or constipation. But what if your OTC medicine could be offensive instead of defensive?

A new study shows that some people with IBS may greatly benefit from using a daily probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria that help promote healthy digestion and fight bad bacteria. Probiotics can be found in foods like yogurt or can be purchased and taken daily in pill form. These good bacteria help to keep the colon functioning more normally which reduces IBS symptoms. Many things can change how the colon functions from stress to medications and foods. On average patients saw a decrease in their symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, cramping and gas. While probiotics may not work for everyone, it is definitely worth a try.

Living with irritable bowel syndrome can be extremely challenging and is filled with trial and error. It is important to know the triggers that make your symptoms worse, such as stress or certain foods, and try to avoid them. Lifestyle changes like eating smaller meals more often and exercise may help to improve your symptoms. If you are one of those people who are just “living with” your symptoms it is time to take action! Talk with one of the doctors at Asheville Gastro about your symptoms and if trying a probiotic may be right for you. You can schedule an appointment with us here.