Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Scholarly project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing




T. Kiresuk, DNP


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common diagnoses made in primary care accounting for approximately12% of all visits; further estimates report upwards of 20% of American have IBS. Patients present initially with abdominal pain and alteration in bowel movements that are dominant in constipation, diarrhea, or alternating between the two. These symptoms cause changes in health-related quality of life. Although several theories exist the cause of IBS is unknown; therefore, there is no cure, only management of symptoms. Currently, symptom management based on IBS subtype with multiple pharmacologic agents is the norm. Although antispasmodics have been reported as effective, the choice of pharmacotherapy remains largely subjective based on patient response and ultimately the provider patient relationship influences the choices offered. Probiotics (live bacteria) are an emerging therapy option with no serious adverse reactions. Their ability to improve quality of life for the patient by way of reducing symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating, passing of flatus, and incomplete evacuation/straining is significant. Bifidobacterium infantis has the potential to significantly reduce IBS related healthcare costs and provide a resource for the primary care provider other than sending the patient to Gastroenterology for evaluation. Probiotic use in primary care is a safe option for treatment of IBS.