GIS Q&A - Dr. Sathya Jaganmohan: What are some new treatments for IBS?

IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is a very complex topic. Irritable bowel syndrome is basically divided into an irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. In the field of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, there have been numerous medicines that have come out in the last few years that have helped us treat and target the colon or the large intestine to help achieve better bowel movements and better control of symptoms. In the field of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, we have seen that intestinal bacteria plays a major role. Our small intestine and large intestine have several bacteria. Most of them are friendly bacteria, and there’s a small portion of bacteria that is harmful. We’ve noticed that when the balance of bacteria changes in the intestines, that can lead to various problems. Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea may be linked to some of this bacteria. Now, we have antibiotics that selectively target to kill bad bacteria in the intestines, and that helps symptoms of diarrhea in these patients. Also, there’s been several important changes in probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are basically bacteria that are good to the intestine, and these are bacteria that normally reside in the intestines. They help regulate the daily function of the intestines. Prebiotics, or nutrients that the probiotic bacteria use, and by consuming prebiotics and probiotics, the normal bacterial flora and the intestines are maintained, which subsequently leads to good regulation of bowel habits and helps with irritable bowel syndrome.