Main idea: Generally, probiotics may be safe and may improve whole gut transit time, stool frequency, and stool consistency. However, adequately powered RCTs are required to better determine the species or strains, doses, and duration of use of probiotics that are most efficacious. Further research and evidence are required before probiotics are adopted as one of the treatments of IBS-C.
Constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) is a functional bowel disorder that may involve disturbance of the gastrointestinal microbiota. Seventeen RCTs involving 1469 patients were included in the analysis. Overall, probiotics significantly increased stool frequency by 1.29 bowel movements (BM)/wk, and improved stool consistency. Compared with placebo, patients using probiotics experienced a shorter gut transit time by 12.36 h. No serious adverse events were reported.