Purpose: Accumulating evidence showed that probiotics therapy might be effective in treating diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of probiotics therapy for the treatment of IBS-D.
Methods: We performed a comprehensive literature search in eight electronic databases, and gray literature from inception to August 4, 2021. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of probiotics therapy for the treatment of IBS-D were included and the quality was assessed using the risk of bias tool recommended by the Cochrane Handbook version 5.1.0. RevMan 5.4 software was used to perform the meta-analysis on the outcomes of IBS-D symptoms, abdominal pain, quality of life, and abdominal distension. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to assess the certainty of evidence.
Results: Ten RCTs evaluating 943 patients were identified. Only one study had unclear risk of bias, while nine studies had a high risk of bias. The meta-analysis results showed that, compared to the placebo, probiotics therapy significantly decreased the score of IBS-D symptoms (SMD = - 0.55, 95% CI: [- 0.83, - 0.27], P < 0.05), abdominal pain (SMD = - 0.43, 95% CI: [- 0.57, - 0.29], P < 0.05), and abdominal distension (SMD = - 0.45, 95%CI: [- 0.81, - 0.09], P < 0.05). There was no statistical difference in the quality of life. However, all the certainty of evidence was very low.
Conclusion: Very low certainty evidence showed that probiotics might be an effective treatment for improving the IBS-D symptoms, abdominal pain, and abdominal distension, in adult IBS-D patients. However, these conclusions should be supported by high-quality evidence.
Keywords: Diarrhea‐predominant irritable bowel syndrome; Probiotics; Randomized controlled trials; Systematic review.
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.