Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 12, December 2009

Irritable bowel syndrome The role of complementary medicines in treatment

Marie Pirotta
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gut problem that interferes with many people’s enjoyment of life.
This article discusses the use of complementary medicines in the treatment of IBS.
The underlying pathophysiology of IBS is not yet fully understood. People’s experience of IBS can fluctuate over time and various bowel symptoms may predominate. Many complementary medicines are used to treat IBS symptoms. Currently there is good evidence to recommend the use of probiotics, peppermint oil capsules and psyllium. Other therapies such as Chinese and Ayuvedic herbs and psychological techniques look promising, but further high quality trials are required before these approaches can be recommended.

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