Those who know the pain of irritable bowel syndrome understand why it is the second leading cause of missed work-days in this country.
Twenty percent of Americans live with chronic cramps, gas, and diarrhea.
Now, one doctor thinks he is found the source of the pain.
For years, Carol Epstein passed up coffee, salads, dairy, and wheat products.
Then, she found a doctor who gave her a breath test that found an overgrowth of bacteria in her stomach.
Working the theory that bacteria may cause IBS, Carol was put on the antibiotic, rifaximin.
On 87 patients, nearly 40% saw a major improvement in symptoms.
Dr. Mark Primentel of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center stated, "If you take the antibiotic for 10 days patients got better, and they got better for 10 weeks after the antibiotic was stopped."
Unlike other antibiotics, rifaximin is not absorbed into the bloodstream.
It stays in the intestine, killing bacteria before passing through the digestive tract.