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Which Probiotics Are Best for IBS?

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a common but painful and annoying digestive system disorder. Currently, there is no cure for this condition, and managing its symptoms and flare-ups can be challenging. Thus, coping mechanisms are constantly needed.

In IBS, your gut becomes more sensitive and the muscles of your digestive system contract abnormally. It is common for people with IBS to have abdominal pain, with frequent changes in bowel habits. Other signs include:

  • Urgent need to move the bowel
  • Gas and bloating
  • Incomplete bowel movement

It’s a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long-term. IBS comes in different forms.

  • IBS-C
  • IBS-D
  • IBS-U
  • IBS-A


Can probiotics help with IBS?


There is no effective way to prevent IBS since no one knows what causes it. Once you have been diagnosed with this condition, it is imperative to focus on managing the condition. Finding out what triggers your IBS symptoms will allow you to develop strategies that will make them less severe and frequent. Another way to effectively manage your condition is by giving your colonic microbiota a boost with probiotic supplements.


Probiotics are a live bacterial culture with positive effects on your health. The added microbes help restores the balance in your gut where trillions of beneficial bacteria live. By keeping the microbiome balanced, you keep your digestive system happy, prevent inflammation, ward off diseases that could cause problems. When your microbiome is out of balance, either with too many harmful bacteria or not enough beneficial bacteria, can trigger symptoms of IBS. By introducing live bacteria to the gut, probiotics help keep the gut lining healthy, maintain the pH balance and order among microbes. 

There are several probiotic strains that may be effective depending on symptoms of IBS experienced and the strain's properties. Studies have shown that the best probiotic supplements for IBS contain the following strains:


Probiotic Strain


B. lactis Bi-07

Poor motility, straining, bowel regularity

B. lactis HN019

Constipation, bloating, GI transit

B.  infantis 35624

Gas, bloating abdominal discomfort, straining

S. boulardii

Loose stool

L. acidophilus NCFM

Abdominal distention, bloating, abdominal cramps,

L. plantarum Lp299v

Bloating, abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain


Probiotics for:


IBS-D (Diarrhea subtype): Consider taking supplements with S. boulardii to support gut health. S. boulardii is the only yeast friendly enough to be called a probiotic. It has been also shown to be beneficial for diarrhea associated with antibiotic therapy and traveler’s diarrhea. The friendly yeast does not colonize the gut but has properties that help with diarrhea.


IBS-A (Alternating digestive symptoms subtype): Patients with this subtype may experience constipation for a few days but once the bowel gets moving, you may experience diarrhea until things settle down. Acidophilus and B. lactis are among the species of beneficial bacteria known to reduce abdominal distension and in regulating bowel movement.


IBS-C (Constipation subtype): Take probiotic supplements with B. lactis BB-12. It’s one of the most well-researched strains and is effective in relieving constipation among those with IBS. B. lactis reduces the time it takes for the foods to move through the gut.


IBS-U (Unsubtype): People with this type of IBS experience having a stool consistency that does not fit into the other categories. It’s less common, but you can reduce the symptoms by taking supplements with B. lactis.



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