Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common digestive disorders, defined by recurring episodes of abdominal pain and changes to bowel habits, along with reductions in health-related quality of life.
A balanced gut bacteria (microbiome) supports optimal gut function and health in general, but this bacterial balance is influenced by many environmental factors, including diet, drugs and lifestyle.
Recent studies have shown that an imbalance in gut bacteria (known as dysbiosis) may contribute to the development of IBS. This is supported by the fact that many people develop IBS following an episode of acute gastroenteritis, which affects the composition of the gut bacteria. Studies have also shown differences in the gut bacteria of those with IBS compared with healthy individuals.
The increasing body of research showing the positive effects of prebiotics, probiotics and diet on the symptoms of IBS would also suggest that the gut bacteria plays a significant role and supporting bacterial balance may help to reduce symptoms.