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May 15, 2019

IBS sufferers should seek a combination of therapies for best results, study says

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Those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome should seek multiple types of treatment simultaneously in order to best treat their symptoms, according to the result of new a study conducted by scientists in Sweden.

IBS, a chronic condition which affects the large intestine, can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. One in five adults in the United States has IBS. Research has found that between 50 to 90 percent of those IBS also have a psychiatric disorder, such as anxiety and depression.

Published in the medical journal "Gastroenterology," the researchers studied abnormalities that can affect the nerves connecting the brain and stomach – known as the gut-brain axis –such as problems that were caused by IBS and psychiatric symptoms. 

This connection between psychiatric illness and IBS is rooted in gut-brain axis. The gut-brain connection can be found in that nausea you feel right before you give a presentation, but it's this same connection that also plays a role in those with digestive diseases and disorders, including IBS.

The study found patients with psychiatric problems and gut problems were more likely to experience more severe symptoms and a lower qualities of life. The more abnormalities a participant showed, the more likely the severity of their IBS increased.

The best course of action for people with IBS is to seek combination therapy to treat each abnormality, the study concludes.

IBS symptoms can be treated through drugs to improve intestinal function, but there is no cure for the condition. Therapy, such as hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants also have been found to help treat IBS.

The study examined 407 participants and their IBS symptoms, such as motility and function, as well as the severity of the symptoms. The group then asked the participants to answer a questionnaire to find any incidences of psychiatric illness.

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