Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), is a chronic condition and one of the most common gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. The month of April marks International IBS Awareness Month and it is important for people suffering from this condition to educate themselves on how the use of probiotics can alleviate some of the symptoms that they generally experience.
This is according to Professor Leon Dicks, head of the probiotic and antimicrobial peptide laboratory in the Department of Microbiology at Stellenbosch University, who says that the condition is rarely completely cured, but the symptoms can become less severe if the patient takes the correct treatment. “People with IBS should make use of a good quality, daily probiotic that can decrease the symptoms of IBS as the microorganisms found in probiotics support the maintenance of a healthy gut flora balance.”
Professor Dicks further explains that the physical symptoms related to IBS include abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and flatulence. “The symptoms of IBS are not only physical and can also cause stress as sufferers are in frequent pain or discomfort. In most cases, IBS unfortunately goes undiagnosed as their sufferers would rather not consult their physicians about the symptoms.”
“Although relatively little is known about the cause of IBS, we do know how to manage the condition.”
Prof Dicks says that research has established a link between a dysfunction of the bacteria in the gut, known as gut flora, and the onset of IBS. “Disruption to the fine balance between gut flora and the body may be caused by a number of factors, including the use of antibiotics or a bout of gastroenteritis.”
He states that probiotics or ‘good’ bacteria, consisting of live microorganisms, are beneficial in the management of IBS. “While there are many probiotics on the market, it is important to ensure that you take a good quality probiotic which treats and protects both the small and large intestine. Probiotics have no real negative side effects and are therefore a safe course of action in the management of IBS,” he concludes.
It is important that consumers take a high quality probiotic supplement, such as entiro™ marketed by Cipla. Prof Dicks developed the strains for the Cipla probiotic entiro™ based on award-winning research.