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Condition affects 30 million Americans and costs $30 billion a year April is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) awareness month, a condition that causes Americans substantial pain, both physically and financially. The estimated 30 million Americans who suffer from IBS – a disorder characterized by a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, constipation and diarrhea – spend approximately $30 billion annually, excluding prescription and over the counter drug costs. It is the most common functional bowel disorder and is the second leading cause of work absenteeism in the United States. To combat this disease, consumers are increasingly shopping for natural solutions in the form of probiotics, as a safe and cost-effective way of taking control of their digestive problems. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that aid digestion, help strengthen the body's natural defenses and support a more appropriate balance of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. However, probiotics are not all the same. "Consumers need to know that not all probiotics are created equal," said Dr. Eamonn Quigley, Professor of Medicine and Human Physiology at the Cork University Hospital. "There are many probiotic strains on the market that are not clinically proven to have any benefits. The most important things to remember when shopping for a probiotic are to know what research lies behind the bacterial strain in the product and to be able identify the necessary information from the probiotic label." Clinical data to support the benefits of a probiotic strain is essential when choosing a probiotic. Bifantis® (Bifidobacterium infantis 35624) is the first and only probiotic that has been clinically proven to help manage the full range of symptoms of IBS in a large scale, placebo-controlled clinical trial. No other probiotic is backed by the clinical data supporting Bifantis. The clinical study was sponsored by P&G Health Sciences Institute.