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.