Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Image via AboutIBS.org

FAQs

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a fairly common, long-term disorder of the large intestine or colon.  Though it frequently causes pain and discomfort, it does not produce inflammation or damage in bowel tissue.  There is as yet no cure for IBS, but it can be successfully managed with diet and exercise, so that many sufferers eventually experience milder symptoms.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

• Abdominal pain or discomfort
• Diarrhea
• Constipation
• Bloating
• Gas

How is IBS diagnosed?

The diagnostic process for IBS requires a thorough medical history and a physical exam.  Because IBS does not cause visible damage to the gastrointestinal system, it is diagnosed using a process of elimination.  This process is aided by a series of indicators known as the Rome criteria.

To conform to these criteria, the IBS patient must present with abdominal pain and discomfort for at least twelve weeks (not necessarily consecutive) and experience at least two of the following symptoms:

• Change in frequency or consistency of stool
• Straining, urgency, or the feeling that you are unable to completely void your bowels
• Bloating or abdominal distension
• Mucus in your stool

If you have experienced these symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor, who will assess your symptoms and look for signs of more serious gastrointestinal disorders.

Are there tests to confirm Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a disorder characterized by a bowel that appears normal but does not function properly.  As such, medical testing is not very helpful in diagnosing IBS.  However, tests such as colonoscopies, blood tests, and CT scans may be performed in order to rule out other gastrointestinal disorders.  If a patient fits the Rome criteria and does not show signs of other GI tract disorder, s/he will receive a diagnosis of IBS, though there is not currently any test which definitively points to IBS.

How can probiotics help alleviate IBS?

Probiotics can help restore the proper microbial environment in the GI tract, which in turn will help lessen the occurrence and severity of IBS symptoms.

What should I keep in mind when taking probiotics for IBS?

Consult your doctor: Effective probiotic formulas can become part of a medical program to provide comfort and relief.

Read the label: Make sure the product you choose contains at least 1 billion CFU per serving.

Press

Lingering Digestive Troubles May be Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Probiotics Can Help
By Dr. Anthony Azar

Digestive ailments come in numerous forms. Many people don’t realize their symptoms may be part of a larger dysfunction such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and, instead, continue to put up with daily discomfort. According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, affecting 10-15% of the U.S. population. IBS symptoms range from annoying to debilitating, from severe constipation in some, to chronic diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, heartburn, and depression in others.

While the direct cause of IBS is unknown, many of us in the medical profession agree it stems from dysfunction within the intestines. In the past, those who suffer from IBS have taken a regimen of antibiotics aimed at eliminating bacterial overgrowth; however, these antibiotics end up attacking and eliminating essential, beneficial bacteria along with harmful bacteria. Antibiotics may offer some quick relief, but they are by no means a long-term solution.

Reversing the effects of IBS can be a slow process, but with an integrated approach that includes an appropriate probiotic supplement, results can be encouraging and long lasting. IBS symptoms can often be controlled with various lifestyle changes such as diet, stress reduction, hydration, an increase in dietary fiber and a healthy balance of intestinal microflora, which is where probiotics like Vidazorb® come in.
Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit to the host. These beneficial bacteria help restore the proper microflora environment in the GI tract and, once achieved, help minimize the number and severity of IBS symptoms.

When choosing a probiotic to help battle IBS, it is important to do some consumer research. There are many probiotic supplements on the market, but I recommend Vidazorb® chewable probiotics to my patients. Vidazorb® carries up to 10 billion CFUs per tablet, delivering a therapeutic dose of live beneficial microorganisms with each intake. Also, many over-the-counter probiotics use only one bacteria strain, in insufficient amounts, therefore not making an impact. The best products combine two to five key, researched bacteria strains—strains such as Chr. Hansen’s LA5® L. acidophilus and BB12® Bifidobacterium—that work together to best provide health benefits. It’s important to find a supplement that works for you, but my patients tend to appreciate that Vidazorb® chewable tablets are easy to tolerate even when the stomach might feel queasy and that they don’t need to be refrigerated, as most other probiotic supplements require.

For Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a Chronic Problem That’s Not Easily Identified, Probiotics Offer a Promising Solution

Beltsville, MD, March 2011 – April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month.  IBS is a chronic condition affecting between 15 and 20 percent of all adults in the Western world. However, IBS is difficult to identify due to the numerous symptoms associated with it. Almost 40 percent of IBS sufferers report symptoms severe and frequent enough to disrupt their daily lives, making it is a serious issue.

IBS is not technically a disease but, rather, a series of symptoms, which can often be controlled with a various lifestyle changes, such as diet, stress reduction, hydration, an increase in dietary fiber and a healthy balance of intestinal microflora, which can be achieved by taking Vidazorb® probiotic supplements.

IBS symptoms range from annoying to debilitating, causing severe constipation in some, to chronic diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, heartburn and depression in others. Often IBS is diagnosed by exclusion—more often described by what it is not rather than what it is—which can lead to overuse of the term.  While the direct cause of IBS is unknown, most medical professionals agree it stems from dysfunction within the intestines1. For the estimated 54 million Americans that it affects—75 percent of them female—the solution often compounds the problem.

Many medical professionals believe that IBS symptoms can be mollified by a course of antibiotics aimed at eliminating bacterial overgrowth. However, antibiotics not only eliminate harmful bacteria, they attack essential and beneficial bacteria as well. While antibiotics may offer some quick relief, it’s not a long-term solution. Reversing the effects of IBS can be a slow process, but with an integrated approach that includes an appropriate probiotic supplement, results can be encouraging and long lasting.

Taking Vidazorb® chewable probiotic supplements will help restore the proper microbial environment in the GI tract. Once achieved, this will help minimize the number and severity of IBS symptoms. The type of probiotic strains used and the amount of viable CFUs (colony forming units) a probiotic supplement contains is critical in providing the most effective results. Vidazorb® uses clinically substantiated strains from Chr. Hansen. In studies on Chr. Hansen L. acidophilus, LA-5® and Bifidobacterium, BB-12®, these strains have been shown to be effective in counteracting antibiotic side effects, treating diarrhea and constipation, and reducing stool frequency in those with collagenous colitis (CC), among other benefits2.

About Vidazorb®

Vidazorb® represents a group of superior shelf-stable, chewable probiotic formulations that provide essential support for core health needs. Research and development, together with a commitment to quality and efficacy, defines Vidazorb® as a brand of integrity and excellence. For more information, visit www.Vidazorb.com. For engaging, kid-friendly probiotic information, visit www.Zorbee.com. To learn more about the importance of, and science supporting, probiotics, visit www.YouAreWhatYouAbsorb.com. Vidazorb® can be purchased online at drugstore.com and vidazorb.com.

For Further IBS Reading and Science