A new drug promising to end IBS bloat could be arriving soon
One in five people in the UK, and between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, are thought to suffer with nasty irritable bowel syndrome symptoms - but praise be, because this could all be about to change with the arrival of a new drug that promises to banish the bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea that come hand-in-hand with the condition.
Scientists have created a bacteria pill that works by soaking up hydrogen sulphide, the 'rotten egg gas' thought to be one of the underlying causes of IBS.
Hydrogen sulphide is believed to cause the stomach to pump out gas, as well as cause bloating and other unwelcome suffering. IBS sufferers tend to have different bugs in their gut compared to that of their healthy counterparts, and this new pill hopes to rectify the balance.
Find out more about IBS from the NHS:
The new capsules are called 'Blautix' and contain Blautia hydrogenotrophica, a bacterium that takes hydrogen from the intestines to stay alive.
Blautix was introduced by scientists at the Digestive Disease Week conference held in Washington recently. At the event, they offered up some impressive statistics, claiming that 82 per cent of patients who have taken the medication so far found their symptoms had improved.
But the drug won't be on the market just yet, as it is being trialed at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester - where 500 IBS patients will be given the drug - as well as other centres in the US and Europe.
Participants in the study will take the promising tablets for three months and then hand over blood, urine and stool samples to doctors who will assess if their symptoms have improved.
Dr Jason Dunn, a consultant gastroenterologist at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, has claimed the study is interested in the gut microbiota, bugs found in the gut.
"Recent research suggests patients with IBS do have altered gut microbiota compared to people with healthy digestion," he told The Sun. "Studies in those with IBS have shown proportions of specific bacterial groups are altered. Biodiversity is also reduced."
He added: "So there is great interest in treatments like this to modulate the microbiota, though the current evidence that these are effective in improving symptoms remains limited. If the drug proves successful, this could be a huge step forward for millions of people who suffer with the condition."
One influencer who will no doubt be thrilled with the news is Alyce Crawford, who has made headlines in the past few years documenting her bloating symptoms on Instagram.
"For the last 3 years, I have suffered with IBS. The symptom I suffer with specifically is severe bloating. It began literally overnight while I was living in America," she wrote in one post. "I woke up one morning, my stomach was extremely bloated & I was experiencing sharp stabbing pains. From that day on, my life was never the same."
She continued: This illness is often very misunderstood & overlooked a lot by medical professionals & the general public alike. No, it is not life threating, but it is a condition that has caused & had a severe negative impact on my mental & physical health. To me, that alone is enough to be considered an illness. There was never 1 day in 3 years, that I ever felt completely well or healthy."
The model later went on to reveal how she now counteracts her abdominal pain, digestive problems and bloating, stating she follows a strict nutritious diet and does lots of exercise to help.