Advances in disease management mean nothing if the front line of medicine—the primary care physicians—are hesitant or worse, in the dark about new treatment methods.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) brings many millions of patients to doctors. Guidelines on management are readily available from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Researchers at St. James’s University Hospital in Leeds, UK asked 275 primary care physicians their thoughts. The 18 question questionnaire was returned by 37% or 102 doctors.
Results appear in Primary Health Care Research & Development.
- 70% believed IBS was a diagnosis of exclusion
- More than 80% checked often or always for celiac
- 50% to70% believed “soluble fibre, antispasmodics, peppermint oil, and psychological therapies were potentially efficacious therapies.”
- Most were not convinced that probiotics were effective
This is from page 190 of the government guidelines
“The review evidence suggests that some probiotics are effective in people with IBS, but others are not. The effect is dose and strain dependent, and the method of ingestion is also important. Although, there is some evidence from single trials, the GDG did not feel able to recommend named bacteria or probiotic products. On the other hand, it was the view of the GDG that probiotics were not harmful (unless they came from an unreliable source), they were widely available and it might benefit people with IBS if they experimented with probiotics as part of their diet. The GDG agreed there was insufficient evidence to make a recommendation on prebiotics.”