NCCIH Clinical Digest
National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
The NCCIH Clinical Digest is a monthly e-newsletter that summarizes the state of the science on complementary health practices and a health condition (diabetes, cancer, sleep disorders, etc.)—clinical guidelines, literature searches, research highlights, and information for patients.
In each issue, you'll find evidence-based information for several complementary health practices used for the highlighted condition.
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that interferes with the normal functions of the colon. IBS is characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS is challenging to study because its symptoms are very non-specific, can be episodic, may resolve for long periods, and there are no diagnostic tests.
This issue summarizes research on some of the most popular complementary and health practices people try to treat symptoms of IBS. Overall, although there is some emerging evidence suggesting that some complementary health practices may be helpful for IBS, there have been few large well-designed studies, and most of the studies have had methodological flaws. Systematic reviews generally conclude that more well-designed studies are needed to firmly establish whether complementary health practices are helpful treatments for IBS.