Published online Mar 14, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i10.3072
Peer-review started: June 4, 2014
First decision: July 9, 2014
Revised: July 24, 2014
Accepted: September 29, 2014
Article in press: September 30, 2014
Published online: March 14, 2015
Core tip: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal tract dysfunction with a complicated etiology. Probiotics may influence IBS symptoms. The present meta-analysis included 1793 patients with all subtypes of IBS from 15 randomized, double-blind clinical trials conducted during 2007-2013. The current and previous meta-analyses are mainly limited by the use of different scales to analyze the mean differences of symptoms among various studies. Thus, further clinical trials are still needed to conclude the effectiveness of probiotics on specific major IBS symptoms of patients. Probiotics may have a beneficial therapeutic role in IBS patients.