By Sara Calabro
What does irritable bowel syndrome have in common with ear infections and sore throats? All three now represent tempting opportunities for doctors to unnecessarily—and often dangerously—put people on antibiotics.
New research, published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows that a two-week course of antibiotics helped IBS symptoms in 41 percent of patients. Although the findings are neither impressive (30 percent got better with placebo), comprehensive (patients with constipation were not included), nor unbiased (the studies were sponsored by Salix Pharmaceuticals, the drug’s maker), they provide doctors, finally, with something to offer patients.
IBS has proven especially tough for mainstream medicine to gets its arms around. Stress is known to play a significant role, leading many doctors to prescribe anxiety or depression drugs, but a clear physiological explanation remains elusive within biomedical parameters.
Acupuncture, because it considers the interdependent relationships of anatomical structures and how they’re affected by emotional and environmental factors, is a more sensible approach than medication for IBS. Keep reading