My doctor husband brought me an article today from the American Academy of Family Physicians on the therapies for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and I just had to chuckle. Here are some of your IBS treatment options if you were to see a regular medical doctor (with my side notes):
1. Exercise - Vigorous exercise 3-5 times per week keeps IBS from getting worse for 1 out of every 7 people. (SN: I disagree.)
2. Fiber - Fiber is ineffective. (SN: I disagree.)
3. Over-the-counter laxatives - Scant evidence of effectiveness.
4. Probiotics - Will prevent the worsening of symptoms in 1 out of every 4 people. (SN: I believe it also improves and alleviates symptoms.)
5. Antibiotics - Will prevent the worsening of symptoms in 1 out of every 11 people over 4 weeks. Improves constipation and bloating. (SN: Yeah, because wiping out your healthy gut flora gives you the craps!)
6. Antispasmodics - 1 out of 7 improvement for abdominal pain; 1 out of 3 have improved symptoms.
7. Antidepressants - 1 out of 4 show symptom improvement and 1 out of 5 experience relief from abdominal pain; (SN: I have a problem in general with the treatment of one's pooping problems with head medications. Modifying pain doesn't fix the underlying cause, it merely changes the body's construction of pain.)
8. 5-HT(3) Antagonists like Lotronex - 1 out of 7 see improved symptoms.
9. 5-HT(4) agonists like Zelnorm - 1 out of every 17 see improvement with constipation. Serious adverse events like stroke and heart attack reported.
10. Complementary and alternative therapies - Some herbal therapies may be effective for treating IBS, but trials are inadequate and too small. (SN: The research is there, there's just no money to be made patenting a naturally occurring substance.)
11. Peppermint Oil - 1 out of every 2.5 people experience relief from IBS symptoms!
I found it very interested that out of all the medical treatments, the simplest, least inexpensive, safest, and most effective remedy is nature's peppermint oil! Probiotics tied for second and also overpowered the "effectiveness" of antibiotics. Naturopathic Doctors (known as the quack doctors most of the time) have been touting the benefits of probiotics and peppermint oil and using it to treat their IBS clients for years! It sometimes amazes me that it takes "science" such a long time to catch up to research, empirical evidence, and common sense.
If you suffer from IBS, do your gut a favor and pick up some peppermint oil! It is doctor recommended :)