For people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a new study recently released by McMaster University, Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, Canada, found that for some patients, natural and over-the-counter remedies may be the cheapest and most effective way to treat IBS. Moreover, Dr. Alexander C. Ford, lead researcher on the project, noted that many of the prescription products available for IBS treatment have been withdrawn or are available only on a restricted basis because they have caused life-threatening symptoms.
The study, which was published November 13, 2008, in the medical publication, BMJ, looked at the results of a number of studies: twelve studies compared fiber against placebo or no treatment; twenty-two studies compared antispasmodic drugs against placebos; and four studies (1988, 1997, 2005, 2007) examined the benefits of peppermint oil. In all 2,500 IBS sufferers participated in the studies, and, based on the data, researchers concluded:
- Peppermint Oil—1 of 2.5 patients received significant relief (In the peppermint studies, participants were given between 187 mg to 225 mg capsules of peppermint oil two, three, or four times a day. Participants who took 225 mg twice daily, showed the most significant improvement.)
- Antispasmodics—1 of 5 received relief
- Fiber—1 of 11 received relief (Additionally, the researchers noted insoluble bran-based fibers were not as effective as Metamucil, which is a soluble psyllium-based product. Soluble psyllium-based products showed 1 of every 6 patients found relief.)
- Scopolamine—This extract from the corkwood tree was the most effective prescription drug of those studied.
Researchers determined the best first-line therapies are psyllium-based fiber products, such as Metamucil, and, for diarrhea-based IBS, peppermint oil and Scopolamine worked best. The researchers also noted that many of the safe and over-the-counter treatments “are often overlooked as potentially effective treatments, [because of the advent of newer more expensive drugs.]” Additionally, one problem Ford acknowledged is there is no way to know which IBS sufferer will benefit the most which type of treatment.
If you’re interested in learning more about IBS, read Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If you’re interested in purchasing peppermint oil, organic Peppermint Gels by NOW Foods are available. If you’re interested in learning about Scopolamine this drug site gives you all the particulars, and if you’re interested in knowing how other patients rate Scopolamine, click here.