Exercise may help IBS patients

Washington: A new study has suggested that exercise could benefit irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients.

The research, conducted at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg and at Alingsas Hospital, included 102 IBS patients between the ages of 18 and 65.

Half the group was randomly allocated to increase their physical activity and the other half to maintain their usual lifestyle.

The active group increased their physical activity on their own, but with the advice and support from the physiotherapist.

"They were advised to perform moderate to vigorous physical activity for 20 to 30 minutes three to five times a week," said Elisabet Johannesson, one of the authors of the article.

At the start of the study and after three months the participants in the study were asked to rate their different IBS complaints, such as abdominal pain, stool problems and quality of life.

"The group with unchanged lifestyle had an average decrease of symptoms by 5 points. The active group on the other hand showed a symptom improvement with an average reduction of 51 points," said Riadh Sadik, a senior physician.

The researchers also showed that the group with an unchanged lifestyle had deteriorating symptoms in 23 percent of cases, compared with the active group in which only 8percent felt worse.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.