Effect of Yoga in the therapy of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review

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Journal Article
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2016
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BACKGROUND: This review aims to systematically survey the effects of yoga on symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pain, quality of life, mood, stress and safety in IBS patients. METHODS: MEDLINE/Pubmed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, CAM-QUEST, CAMbase, and IndMED were screened through November 2015. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing yoga to usual care, non-pharmacological or pharmacological interventions were analyzed for patients with IBS. Primary outcomes included gastrointestinal symptoms, quality of life and pain. Anxiety, mood and safety were defined as secondary outcomes. Risk of bias was assessed according to the Cochrane Collaboration recommendations. RESULTS: Six RCTs with a total of 273 patients were included in the qualitative analysis. There was evidence for a beneficial effect of a yogic intervention over conventional treatment in IBS, with significantly decreased bowel symptoms, IBS severity and anxiety. Further, there were significant improvements in quality of life, global improvement and physical functioning after yoga compared to no treatment. Two RCTs reported safety data stating that no adverse events occurred. Overall, risk of bias of the included studies was unclear. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this systematic review suggest that Yoga might be a feasible and safe adjunctive treatment for people with IBS. Nevertheless no recommendation can be made regarding yoga as a routine intervention for IBS patients due to major flaws in study methods. More research is needed with respect to a high quality study design and consensus in clinical outcome measurements in IBS.
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