Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that can affect many of us in our day to day lives. It usually develops a concern with the digestive system and is known for causing some common side effects, such as bloating, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and increased bowel movements. Although IBS is considered common, it can often become a little confusing as there are a variety of different types that can develop the problem.
When it comes to treating IBS, many take the first step of considering how their diet and lifestyle can affect any potential flare-ups. With an increased knowledge in how gut health can contribute to an all over improvement in your general health we find ourselves reaching a lot for probiotics and the plentiful boost of good bacteria they contain. So, with this in mind we want to investigate further and answer the question, do probiotics help with IBS?
Which probiotics are best for IBS?
As I have briefly mentioned previously, there are different types of irritable bowel syndrome. Figuring out which one you are prone to having will help you determine which strain of probiotic to use in your daily routine. If you are wanting to know more about the different types of IBS to help figure out which one you are dealing with, you can check out our dedicated blog post about which probiotics are best for IBS.
Here are some examples of the best strains of probiotics to introduce into your daily routine to combat IBS.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM
- Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12
- Bifidobacterium lactis HN019
When it comes to probiotics, there is still some ongoing research helping to determine how effective they are at combating concerns with IBS. Therefore, I would strongly recommend you consult with a doctor or medical professional before using anything new. This will ensure you have found the best strain of probiotics to help target and control the type of IBS you find yourself suffering with.
How long does it take for probiotics to work for IBS?
How quickly probiotics can deliver results are dependent of several factors. The severity of the IBS, your body mass, general overall health and wellbeing, quality of probiotics, and potency of the blend. Putting aside all the previously mentioned concerns you will find that if you consistent with taking your probiotic supplement, on average, it can take 8 weeks or longer for those suffering from a flare-up in IBS to see noticeable difference. You’ll find that the first symptoms to change is a reduction in diarrhoea or loose, frequent bowel movements, stomach cramps, and bloating.
Continued intake of probiotics will help settle and restore balance in the gut’s microbiome, but it’s thought best to not take probiotics as a long-term fix for IBS. If you find yourself needing to use probiotics, ensure you keep an eye on how long you use them whilst checking in with your GP sporadically you are safe to continue taking them.
What helps IBS immediately?
There are a few methods to try for fasting acting treatment of calming an IBS flare-up. Here are some examples of the most rapid and effective to try for yourself at home.
Yes, this may feel a little like a challenge, but exercising, or just movement in general is considered a great way of combating the side effects of IBS. Bearing in mind to go easy and figure out which exercise is best for you. You may find that if you have the type of IBS that involves increased bowel movements, or diarrhoea, then it may be best to give exercise a miss, instead opt for following the other methods I’ll suggest now.
- Applying Warmth
Soothe an upset IBS stomach with the help of gentle warmth, this can come from heat packs or hot water bottles. You can also take a clean sock and fill it with a cup of uncooked rice, warm it in the microwave for 30 to 90 seconds. This rice pack will not only act as warming for the stomach, but this method has been used for centuries as a way of pain relief by many ancient civilisations. Whichever warming device you decide to use, apply it directly onto the stomach and relax for about 15 minutes. This will help relief discomfort from any flatulence, cramps, or bloating, but you will also find that stress is reduced. Stress is something that is also known to increase flare-ups in IBS so anything to prevent it is always beneficial.
- Avoid foods that trigger a flare-up
This is something that may take some time as trying to determine which foods cause a flare-up in irritable bowel syndrome can be difficult at first. If you are unsure what your trigger foods are, start a food journal as this is known for being the quickest way of figuring out which foods to avoid. Another thing to consider is whilst you are suffering from an IBS attack, it’s best to keep your meals as light as possible and avoid spices. You can also help soothe the stomach with a cup of warm peppermint tea.
There you have some examples of the at home methods that are proven to reduce a flare-up in IBS. Another factor you can choose to turn your attention to is how much stress you encounter during the day. Avoiding stress can feel impossible sometimes but it’s important for you, your health, and your mental wellbeing to set aside some time, even if it’s 10 minutes to stop, sit, and focus on calming yourself down with some deep breaths. Something so simple will have a huge impact on your IBS as well as the rest of your day.
So, there you have it, hopefully I’ve answered some of your most asked questions about whether probiotics help with IBS. Don’t forget if you have any questions, come, and follow us on Instagram and you’ll be able to find an expert in the direct messages, we look forward to seeing you there!