Yoga May Be a Safe Adjunctive Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Significantly decreased bowel symptoms, disease severity, anxiety
Significantly decreased bowel symptoms, disease severity, anxiety

(HealthDay News) -- Yoga is associated with decreased bowel symptoms, disease severity, and anxiety in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a review published in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Dania Schumann, from Kliniken Essen-Mitte at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the effects of yoga on symptoms of IBS. Data were analyzed from six randomized controlled trials with 273 patients that compared yoga with usual care, nonpharmacologic, or pharmacologic interventions.

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The researchers found that there was evidence for a beneficial effect for yogic intervention versus conventional treatment, with significantly decreased bowel symptoms, IBS severity, and anxiety. Compared with no treatment, after yoga there were significant improvements in quality of life, global improvement, and physical functioning. In two randomized controlled trials reporting safety data there were no adverse events noted. The overall risk of bias was unclear for the included studies.

"The findings of this systematic review suggest that yoga might be a feasible and safe adjunctive treatment for people with IBS," the authors write. "Nevertheless, no recommendation can be made regarding yoga as a routine intervention for patients with IBS because of major flaws in study methods."

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