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Do probiotics work for IBS M?

Does anybody have any experience with probiotics? My GP has recommended the probiotic VSL#3 112.5 billion probiotic bacteria.
I have severe pain from cramping and alternating between diarrhea, but mostly constipation or something in between which is a tiny speckle with stomach cramps that’s in and out of the bathroom in about eight minutes. So, I’ve been taking these for the recommended dose of one a day for about a month, and it didn’t help. What I call “a good day” is a total of eight or fewer episodes of gut pain and whatever happens in the bathroom. My experience both before starting the probiotics about six weeks ago and now is the same: some days it’s eight times and on really bad days it’s 12 or 13 times!

It’s hard for me to travel places and stay away from my bathroom usually for 7, 8 or nine hours every day.
After about a month on one dosage, I have now gone 10 days almost 2 weeks taking two of the probiotic capsules. It’s not any better or worse than before. I have another week and a half to go until I see my PCP. After discussing this with him, I feel like it may not be worth the money to continue on this probiotic.

My PCP was the one who recommended it for me, and a nurse called me today to check on why am taking two capsules. She seemed knowledgeable about different probiotics and she said some of them are good and some of them are not so you have to research.

Can anyone please help me with my dilemma? The probiotic is not covered by my health insurance, unlike any other medicine I’m taking, and it costs $50 for a two month supply of a one Per day dosage. Looking at the package it says “usual adult dosage: 1 to 2 capsules as needed up to four times a day.” Yikes, since I’m already paying $50 for two month supply at one a day, if I did 1 to 2 capsules up to four times a day I’d be spending $100 to $200 a month! 
Please help me if you have any experience with probiotics.
Thank you in advance!

  1. Hi

    I'm sorry you are having to go through such a frustrating experience. I have been there myself many, many times. I have been living with IBS for 20+ years and have tried many pre-, pro-, and post-biotics over the years. I have tried ones that do absolutely nothing for $2-3 per pill, much like you are experiencing, and others that actually made my IBS worse and more unpredictable. One of the best ones I have found that I currently use twice per day (once with breakfast and once with dinner) is a product called Organic India. You can find their website and the specific product I use here:

    They have a lot of options to choose from, but I find it last me at least a month when taking 1tsp twice per day. At only $15 per bag it will save you a little money compared to what you are currently paying too. I use this in combination with another 1tsp of straight psyllium husk fiber as well. I get mine from Trader Joes, but I have found most psyllium husk brands I have tried give me generally the same level of relief. I have found this combination to be greatly beneficial in reducing bloating, cramps, and excessive gas. I personally have IBS-D with very few issues with constipation, so the psyllium husk helps bulk up my stool so there are fewer bouts of diarrhea throughout the day. Hope this helps!

    1. Hey ,

      Sorry to hear there has been a lack of results from the products. I have been using psyllium husk and other general fiber supplements for nearly 20 years in one form or another. I used metamucil for the first 4 years I had IBS, then switched to straight psyllium husk fiber supplements, since the metamucil was packed with added sugars to make it taste better. I do have IBS-D though, so my increased fiber intake personally helps bulk up my stool instead of soften it. Don't get me wrong, I still have daily issues that I have learned to manage in other ways outside of diet and supplementation. I have never had 100% relief from my symptoms after taking any supplement or medication in the past. They just make the symptoms easier to live with. Probiotics are something that has only really been more heavily recommended by the medical community for IBS for maybe the last 5 years or so. As new information and studies come out each year, we are able to gain more and more knowledge into what might potentially help, but the hardest part is that everyone's body chemistry is different, and even patients with IBS may experience vastly different symptoms from one patient to another, especially between IBS-D, IBS-C, and IBS-M. Keep researching and talking to your medical providers and don't give up hope. You will find something that gives you at least some relief from your symptoms, even if Probiotics are not the answer for you. We're all in this together, you are not alone!

    2. thank you for your response, I understand that everybody’s different. I’m also post pandemic drinking more beer daily which according to gastroenterologist on the Internet is a no-no. Plus I am addicted to chocolate so that’s not healthy either. I’m watching my intake on both counts, but I refuse to give them up entirely. It's

      CVS sent me a coupon today for another probiotic. Do you or does anyone else on the website have any experience with this one ENVIVE? I looked it up, WebMD says it’s not FDA approved, (what else is new, LOL - it’s a probiotic. Does the FDA even research probiotics for IBS?)
      Thank you in advance everybody on!ENVIVE

  2. JustinOrr,

    I was delighted and I’m so thankful for your advice. I am going to pursue the product that you recommended. Your experience is most helpful, and I hope I have as much success with it as you did. Thanks for recommending something that won’t break my bank account that will stop the stress of the extreme frequency of IBS interruptions.
    I went to the website, and it’s now an open page in my Safari, for me to take action ASAP! God Bless is all!

    1. Most times if I remember to take my probiotic it helps. Still find I can't eat at work. Don't know if it's because of nerves. Work in group home, sometimes stressful.

      1. Eating at work can be incredibly stressful. Even your most trusted foods can turn on you in an instant! If you're able to, I've found breaking a big meal into smaller snack meals can help. I know schedules don't always work for that but it could be helpful if you can. All the best, Michaela ( Team Member)

    2. I find that Probiotics and IBGard help me most.

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