Irritable bowel syndrome
About 30 million people in North America have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): it represents 30% to 50% of the activity of a gastroenterologist! In Canada, nearly one in six Canadians, mostly women, suffers from IBS.
IBS is a functional disorder characterized by an abnormal transit of the intestinal content and can be manifested by painful sensations in the abdomen, usually after a meal or during stressful moments. The muscles of the intestine seem to be hypersensitive in people suffering from IBS. This hypersensitivity can cause the contractions of the intestine to be either too strong or too weak. When the contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles are faster and more pronounced than normal, the large intestine has not enough time to absorb the water of its content, causing diarrhea. When the contractions are slower or weaker than normal, the colon absorbs too much liquid, causing constipation. IBS manifests with diarrhea or loose stools, constipation, or alternating diarrhea and constipation. Other symptoms such as pain, bloating, nausea, dizziness, headache and sweating may occur. The exact causes of IBS are unknown and are still a subject of research.
Since 2000, research is being done to determine the benefits that probiotics can provide to people with IBS.
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