A Randomized Trial of Yoga for Adolescents with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
BACKGROUND: Adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) frequently experience interference with everyday activities. Mind-body approaches such as yoga have been recommended as interventions for patients with IBS. Despite promising results among adult samples, there have been limited studies exploring the efficacy of yoga with pediatric patients.OBJECTIVE: To conduct a preliminary randomized study of yoga as treatment for adolescents with IBS.METHODS: Twenty-five adolescents aged 11 to 18 years with IBS were randomly assigned to either a yoga or wait list control group. Before the intervention, both groups completed questionnaires assessing gastrointestinal symptoms, pain, functional disability, coping, anxiety and depression. The yoga intervention consisted of a 1 h instructional session, demonstration and practice, followed by four weeks of daily home practice guided by a video. After four weeks, adolescents repeated the baseline questionnaires. The wait list control group then received the yoga intervention and four weeks later completed an additional set of questionnaires.RESULTS: Adolescents in the yoga group reported lower levels of functional disability, less use of emotion-focused avoidance and lower anxiety following the intervention than adolescents in the control group. When the pre- and postintervention data for the two groups were combined, adolescents had significantly lower scores for gastrointestinal symptoms and emotion-focused avoidance following the yoga intervention. Adolescents found the yoga to be helpful and indicated they would continue to use it to manage their IBS.CONCLUSIONS: Yoga holds promise as an intervention for adolescents with IBS.