It’s been a while since the Food and Drug Administration approved new medicines for IBS. While the number of IBS patients seeking help for their symptoms has grown, the same cannot be said about prescription therapies. Because every patient responds to medicines differently, there’s a need for new alternatives that are easy to use and can safely be taken by different types of patients — including children and pregnant women — which is why this new study from the UK was exciting to see.
A common over-the-counter (OTC) product in the UK, known as an “intestinal absorbent,” has been shown to be effective in improving diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain in people with IBS-D.
In US parlance, an “intestinal absorbent” is a group of materials that absorbs toxic substances and metabolites as it moves through the GI tract. It does not dissolve or metabolize in the body and is eventually excreted in the stool. Essentially, the material consumes the bacteria that creates gas and inflammation, reducing bloating and pain. Because it also acts like a sponge, an intestinal absorbent can significantly improve diarrhea by taking in the extra water.
The new study, which was just published by the International Standard of Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) Registry, specifically focused on an OTC called Enterosgel®.
The study tracked 440 patients with IBS-D (aged 16-75 years) for eight weeks. Half of the patients were given Enterosgel, while the other half ingested a placebo. Results showed that:
95% of patients reported improved stool consistency
95% of participants said their abdominal pain decreased
Researchers concluded that Enterosgel appears to be safe and effective in reducing the main symptoms of IBS-D, which also positively impacts patients’ quality of life. While these results show great promise, researchers say that more studies are still needed to investigate the potential benefits of Enterosgel in the treatment of IBS-D. The first step for folks interested in trying the product is to talk with their physician. Once approved, Enterosgel can be purchased on Amazon.