When researchers analyzed published studies on how to treat recurrent abdominal pain among patients with inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, stress management appeared to be a promising strategy.
In the 15 studies examined, a variety of psychological, dietary, and pharmacological interventions were reported. Psychological interventions such as individualized or group-based relaxation and stress management were associated with reduced pain in several studies. Two dietary interventions (alcoholic drinks with high sugar content and fermentable carbohydrate with prebiotic properties) had effects on abdominal pain, as did antibiotics, transdermal nicotine patches, and cannabis.
The researchers cautioned that most of the studies they examined were small and non-conclusive. Therefore, further research is needed on different treatment approaches.
The review is published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.