In a study that was conducted with around 102 Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients it was found that physical activity improves IBS symptoms and also protects against deterioration of the condition. Half the group was asked to increase their physical activity and the rest were asked to maintain their usual lifestyle. The group that had physical activity developed reduced symptoms when compared to the non-active group where there was no change. The study, which was conducted at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg and at Alings's Hospital, age groups ranging between 18 and 65.
At the start of the study and after three months the participants in the study were asked to rate their different IBS complaints, such as abdominal pain, stool problems and quality of life."The group with unchanged lifestyle had an average decrease of symptoms by 5 points. The active group on the other hand showed a symptom improvement with an average reduction of 51 points," says Riadh Sadik, a senior physician who has been responsible for the study.
The researchers also showed that the group with an unchanged lifestyle had deteriorating symptoms in 23% of cases, compared with the active group in which only 8% felt worse.The measurement of fitness in the study showed a slight increase in the activity group only. "This suggests that even a slight increase of physical activity may reduce symptoms and protect from deterioration," says Sadik.
The study is published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology
and has attracted great attention in the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden.