Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Probiotics


Hi Dr.
What do you think of probiotics as a therapy for I.B.S.? I have managed to control most of my symptoms by eliminating red meat and dairy, but I still get a bloated stomach after meals-even a light lunch of a salad. Its not fat its gas.
I have tried probiotics before they didnt help much-maybe the wrong kind? Is the enteric coated ones the way to go? What about refrigerated vs. non?
I had more success with yogurt (I tool the activia challenge!) but I cant stand the taste!
Also, could the lack of beneficial bacteria be the cause for some forms of I.B.S.? In my case I suffered from a lot of infections and 'stomach flu' as a child. Maybe my ability to create bacteria was compromised then?
Thanks for your thoughts!

Barry, personally I am a great fan of probiotics and I think they will become a very useful tool in medicine to deal with a lot of illnesses. What perfect vector to help alter the course of disease,than a bacterium who's "relatives" are responsible for some disease in the first place! I guess you could look at it as the medical version of homeopathy, treating like with like!

As for the preparations, I don't think one preparation is any better than the next. Certainly there is no evidence base to be sure about this. It really comes down to what works best for you!

As for the cause of IBS, if I had that answer we wouldn't be discussing this as you would have your cure. I do think there are multiple factors involved and a lot of subtypes, but thats a discussion that is ongoing and not for this forum.

Hope your symptoms settle for you. I must point out that diet is very important in IBS, not just probiotics. You can find out more about this on my web site, IBS Help Online.

Good luck


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Dr Peter Thatcher MBBS, MRCPI. IBS Physician & Gastroenterologist


I can answer questions on all aspects of IBS or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Medicine and Gastroenterology. This would include aspects of diagnosis, investigation and management of IBS and other gastroenterology or medical conditions.


I am a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist in the United Kingdom. I qualified as a physician in 1993 and have been practicing Medicine and Gastroenterology ever since. I regularly run gastroenterology clinics and 1:4 patients have IBS. I am also the web master of IBS Help Online, an Irritable Bowel Syndrome help site.

British Society of Gastroenterology Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall. UK

Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Fully UK Trained Medical Degree at Kings College School of Medicine & Dentistry 1993 Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Examinations 1997

Awards and Honors
MBBS 1993 MRCPI 1997

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