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Peppermint Oil Soothes Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Kids

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The researchers feel that larger, more comprehensive studies are needed. In the meantime, they write that "peppermint oil should be considered for the treatment of moderate levels of pain in children with irritable bowel syndrome."

Miller, who provided WebMD with an objective opinion about the research, says that the study has made "a significant start in piloting alternate therapies that are well tolerated, safe, and effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome of childhood."

David Gremse, MD, director of the division of pediatric GI/nutrition at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, points out that even though no side effects were reported, peppermint oil has caused heartburn and allergic reactions in adults who have used it. The two-week study period, he feels, wasn't long enough to conclude that it won't cause any side effects in children.

Gremse, who also reviewed the study for WebMD, feels that the "results are intriguing" but says that further studies are needed to confirm both the safety and effectiveness of peppermint oil before it can be widely recommended to relieve symptoms in children with irritable bowel syndrome.

The research was supported in part by a grant from Tillotts Pharma AG.

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