Online Yoga Good for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Online Yoga Good for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Douglas K. Rex, MD, MASGE, reviewing D'Silva A, et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2022 Nov 4.

Previous studies have found yoga as effective as other treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. This study tested whether virtually delivered yoga improved IBS symptoms. Seventy-nine patients were randomized to either a form of hatha yoga or no yoga, with a 60-minute virtual online class that included 3 to 7 participants and encouragement for daily practice.

The primary endpoint measure was at least a 50-point decrease in the IBS-Symptom Severity Scale (IBS-SSS) after intervention. The IBS-SSS ranges from 0 to 500, and a score of 300 or higher is considered severe IBS. 

All the patients lacked major depression and serious mental illness and had the ability to exercise. The mean age of the enrolled patients was 45.4 years, 92.4% were women, 81% percent were Caucasian, and the mean IBS diagnosis duration was 11.5 years. 

The IBS-SSS decreased from 255 to 201 in the yoga group (P=.028) and from 236 to 214 in the control group (P=.277). Mean overall practice minutes in the responders who did yoga was 1214 minutes versus 595 minutes in the nonresponders. Thus, practicing an additional 78 minutes per week was associated with a 5 times greater chance of responding.

The attrition rate was 29% in the treatment group, and 7 of 11 participants in the treatment group did not start the program. In the treatment group, 52% of patients agreed they would strongly recommend the program to other patients with IBS.

Douglas K. Rex, MD, FASGE


It is useful to have new ways to engage patients with IBS in their own management, and the observation that online yoga is an effective treatment could be a beneficial approach for some of these patients.

Note to readers: At the time we reviewed this paper, its publisher noted that it was not in final form and that subsequent changes might be made.


D’Silva A, Marshall DA, Vallance J, et al. Meditation and yoga for irritable bowel syndrome (MY-IBS study): a randomized clinical trial. Am J Gastroenterol 2022 Nov 4. (Epub ahead of print) (

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