Millions of colonoscopies are performed each year in the United States and Europe. In the days following colonoscopy, up to one fifth of patients experience abdominal pain. The investigators conducting this study wondered if these pain symptoms are related to alterations in gut microbiota that occur in the process of bowel preparation.
In this study, patients were randomized to consume either probiotic or placebo capsules after colonoscopy, and were asked to record their symptoms in the subsequent days. The strains Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 were used in the capsules.
Patients consuming the probiotics had 1.99 pain days after colonoscopy, compared with 2.78 in the control group. No significant differences were observed in terms of bloating or return to normal bowel habits. In the subgroup of patients with pre-existing abdominal pain, probiotics reduced the number of pain days from 4.08 to 2.16.
This study shows the potential of two probiotic strains to reduce abdominal pain after colonoscopy, perhaps by changing the gut microbiota. It did not address the mechanisms by which this may occur.
D’Souza B, et al. Randomized controlled trial of probiotics after colonoscopy. ANZ Journal of Surgery DOI: 10.1111/ans.13225