There has been talk in the press in recent months of a probiotic drink called Symprove which has apparently been shown in clinical trial to reduce symptoms of IBS in half of the participants. I have not been able to find an official write up of this clinical trial but it is registered with Current Controlled Trials. The main difference between this probiotic and all the hundreds of others currently on the market is that that Symprove is dairy and gluten free so removes two common IBS triggers from the delivery system.
After such a promising write up I thought I might give it a try. I’m not one who goes for any fad diet or radical treatment without first having solid evidence but the theory appears sound and I doubt it can make my symptoms worse. Plus it sounds much more appealing than faecal transplant!
I am not here to advertise, nor am I being sponsored in any way to write this I just wanted to share my experiences of trying Symprove for the first time.
Day -2 – My parcel of Symprove had unfortunately arrived while I was out and so was taken back to the parcel collection depot where I was not able to collect it for 48 hours. I am hopeful that in this time it was not stored on a radiator!
Day -1 – The night before my first dose of Symprove was the worst in a few months, I awoke at about 2:30 with stomach pains, nausea and diarrhoea and spent the rest of the night in the bathroom. So my motivation to try Symprove and for it to work was high.
Day 1 – My lovely husband went out for me to pick up the parcel so I could finally try my first dose of Symprove. I can honestly say that it is the most foul thing I have ever tasted! It tastes like liquid yeast. Unpleasant but you only have to drink 1ml per kilo of body weight so not a massive dose and only once a day. My husband helpfully pointed out that anything that tastes that bad must be good for you! There was no magic instant disappearance of symptoms but that is of course to be expected. There was some yeasty reflux throughout the afternoon but no apparent adverse effects although I was still quite sore and nauseous from my bad night.
Day 4 – I’m getting into the routine of waking up and having my shot of Symprove first thing before breakfast. There is still no dramatic difference in my symptoms. My stomach pains, diarrhoea and nausea are settling down at their usual pace after a bad episode.
I’ll continue to update this post regularly with my experiences. Please feel free to share if you’ve tried Symprove.
16th November 2012
One month – So after a month of drinking Symprove every morning I am definitely not ‘cured’ but there has been some improvement, enough for me to want to continue. In the last month I’ve had two episodes of fairly severe symptoms involving diarrhoea and some nausea but no vomiting and not the worst kind of upper GI pain. The worst of my ‘episodes’ have been very rare this year anyway because of the balance I’ve found in diet and medication. The most recent bout of diarrhoea I have theorised may have been triggered because it was a ‘treat’ day in honour of my husbands birthday and although I didn’t eat much fat as per my usual diet I ate much more sugar than usual. This may have disturbed the new gut flora causing them to bloom or react adversely in some way thus causing the stomach upset. Since going back to my usual diet my symptoms have settled again. In the first couple of weeks I actually noticed a slight increase in lower left side bowel cramps but this in general has settled down now.
I’ve found over time the taste of Symprove is not so unpleasant to me, although still far from being pleasant! It seems more like a very concentrated apple juice. One slightly peculiar side effect I have noticed is that my urine sometimes smells of Symprove!
The main improvements have been a settling down of my dyspepsia type symptoms. I had anticipated that this treatment would benefit my lower GI but not for my upper GI symptoms however at the moment it appears the reverse. Perhaps with more time things will change again!
11th March 2013
It has been too long since I last updated this post! I completed my 3 month trial of Symprove in January and unfortunately I can’t report any ‘miracle cure’ of my symptoms. I’m not even sure if any slight improvement in my symptoms was down to the Symprove or wishful thinking. I think treatments like these are a great positive start in treatment of IBS rather than simply blaming it on stress but for me I suppose my digestive dysfunction is more complex than a bacterial imbalance or overgrowth of ‘wrong’ bacteria.
I try to remain positive and continue with the things that work for me which are eating a very low fat diet, avoiding insoluble fibre, dairy and alcohol and exercising regularly. I am still not symptom free but I will continue to experiment and hope for the best!