Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not probiotics provide adequate relief from overall symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome including abdominal pain and bloating in adults with irritable bowel syndrome.

Study Design: Review of three published randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trials were used for this review. The articles were found on PubMed and EBSCOhost web, and were selected based on outcomes measured and relevance to the objective.

Outcomes Measured: The outcomes were measured by a 10-point visual analog scale for each symptom, or daily dairy entries addressing overall symptom relief, and a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the trial for overall quality of life.

Results: The Ki Cha, et al. study proved a statistically significant improvement in the adequate relief of symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain and bloating, however the Roberts, et al. and the Cappello, et al. studies did not show a statistically significant improvement of symptoms in the probiotic group as compared to the placebo group.

Conclusions: Based on the three randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trials the efficacy of treating irritable bowel syndrome with probiotics is inconclusive. Future studies should focus on the efficacy of probiotics in a specific subtype of IBS, for example only focus on constipation predominate irritable bowel syndrome, to help determine if probiotics are a reasonable intervention for a specific subtype of irritable bowel syndrome.