Naturopathic Approaches to Irritable Bowel Syndrome-A Delphi Study

Goldenberg JZ1,2, Ward L2, Day A3, Cooley K2,4. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Sep 12. doi: 10.1089/acm.2018.0255. [Epub ahead of print]

Author information

1 1 Bastyr University Research Institute, Bastyr University , Kenmore, Washington.

2 2 Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney , Ultimo, Australia .

3 3 School of Naturopathic Medicine, Bastyr University , Kenmore, Washington.

4 4 Department of Research and Clinical Epidemiology, Canadian College of Natural Medicine , Toronto, Canada .


INTRODUCTION: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 11% of the population, and up to 50% of patients report using complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) for it. To date, there is no research describing how providers of naturopathic medicine in North America, a well-defined CAM profession, approach IBS.

METHODS: A Delphi study was conducted over a 17-month period in 4 rounds with 15 North American naturopathic medicine experts in IBS. Consensus was defined as a median value of 75% or greater agreement with the relevant statement.

RESULTS: Consensus was met with 45 statements describing a "reasonable naturopathic approach" to IBS. These statements covered the domains of general, office visits, tracking progress, testing, interventions, and resources.

CONCLUSION: These results represent the beginning of an evidence base depicting naturopathic interventions for IBS and should inform future randomized controlled clinical trials in this area. Future research should look to reflect on and revise these guidance consensus statements particularly extending to other stakeholders as well as geographic and regulatory jurisdictions in the naturopathic profession.

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