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Do Probiotics Work for Ulcerative Colitis?

By    |   Tuesday, 17 May 2016 12:07 PM

In ulcerative colitis, bad bacteria outnumber the good. So do probiotics, or good bacteria, work to treat the inflammatory bowel disease?

Some research suggests a lack of the probiotics in the gut could cause inflammatory bowl diseases, or IBDs, however results remain mixed, WebMD notes, adding that surveys show two out of five patients with IBD use probiotics on a regular basis.

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Probiotics could help symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, another IBD, by regulating the digestive tract and bloating, according to Dr. Walter Coyle, director of the Gastrointestinal Program at Scripps Clinic Medical Center in La Jolla, California. “But frankly, when it comes to inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, we have almost no scientific evidence that they are beneficial,” Coyle tells WebMD.

In ulcerative colitis, ulceration and tissue damage occur in the colon. Symptoms include pain, diarrhea, bloody stools, fatigue, anemia, and headaches.

Here are seven things to consider when deciding whether or not to take probiotics for ulcerative colitis:

1. Research has found that healthy bacteria from probiotics may prevent inflammation and stop bad bacteria from sticking to the lining in the intestines, WebMD reports.

2. Probiotics show promise in helping patients with inflammatory bowel disease, particularly in maintaining remission for symptoms of ulcerative colitis once the disease has been treated with traditional medication, writes Sherry Coleman Collins in Today’s Dietitian. However, she says research has been limited and more studies are needed.

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3. Guidelines from the American Society for Nutrition support using probiotics for ulcerative colitis, basing their recommendation on studies involving E. coli Nissle and the probiotic supplement VSL#3.

4. Practice guidelines for the World Gastroenterology Organization in 2010 stated research does not support the use of probiotics for ulcerative colitis.

5. A study of 90 volunteers found positive results in remission rates for ulcerative colitis when using E. coli Nissle, according to WebMD.

6. A 2006 study of 157 ulcerative colitis patients didn’t find a difference between a probiotics group and a placebo group. But it did suggest probiotics could prolong the length of remission.

7. Probiotics may have small benefits but do not offer a cure, Dr. Richard Neil Fedorak, a University of Alberta, Canada, gastroenterologist who reviewed research findings, tells WebMD. Probiotics should not replace conventional treatment, but could work for ulcerative colitis in a treatment plan used with prescription medication, he says.

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In ulcerative colitis, bad bacteria outnumber the good. So do probiotics, or good bacteria, work to treat the inflammatory bowel disease?
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Tuesday, 17 May 2016 12:07 PM
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