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Effects of active addition of bacterial cultures in fermented milk to patients with chronic bowel discomfort following irradiation

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Radiotherapy is a cornerstone in the treatment of malignancies in the pelvis. Consequently, there is usually exposure of the intestine and especially the lower colon and rectum, with ensuing disturbances in bowel habits at different times following radiotherapy. The main problem is diarrhoea associated with lactose intolerance, bile salt absorption and fat malabsorption. Bacterial contamination has also been described. In the present study we have evaluated the influence of the active administration of specific bacterial cultures in fermented milk, which inhibit the growth of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms, to 40 consecutive patients with chronic alteration in their bowel habits caused by previous radiotherapy of pelvic malignancies. The results suggest that intake of fermented milk products could be of value in decreasing chronic bowel discomfort following radiotherapy of pelvic malignancies. However, a more extensive study is warranted in order to very the significance of the results and to find the optimal product.

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Henriksson, R., Franzén, L., Sandström, K. et al. Effects of active addition of bacterial cultures in fermented milk to patients with chronic bowel discomfort following irradiation. Support Care Cancer 3, 81–83 (1995).

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