If the hair on your arms stood up from just *reading* about spiders,聽you鈥檙e not alone. It鈥檚 estimated that millions of people experience a crazy irrational fear of spiders. While they can certainly be scary, these creepy crawlers may have a solution for a health problem affecting 15 percent of the population:聽Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Often called a brain-gut disorder, IBS聽is a disease that is thought to be provoked or exacerbated by stress, anxiety or emotional trauma. Those who suffer from IBS experience聽intense stomach aches, bloating and unpredictable聽changes in bowel habits. These painful side effects聽can have a severe impact on one鈥檚 life, including the way one eats, travels or even functions on a daily basis.

woman Stomach ache

Because doctors are still聽unclear as to what causes IBS, there have been聽no effective treatments 鈥 until now. In a recent study聽published in Nature and led by聽Dr. Jeremiah Osteen, a physiologist at the University of California San Francisco, it was discovered that toxins carried by the聽Togo starburst tarantula stimulated the rare sensory nerves responsible for IBS pain.聽Until recently, scientists were unable to locate these rare nerves and, therefore, struggled to regulate their sensitivity. But by injecting the tarantula toxin into these nerves, Osteen and his team were able to understand exactly how they聽react to pain, giving聽them insight on how to effectively treat聽IBS.

Tarantula in hand

In addition to IBS, the researchers also believe that the tarantula venom may help with treating epilepsy, autism and even Alzheimer鈥檚 disease, as their development is聽associated with the same nerves as IBS. Encouraged by these findings, Osteen and his team plan to continue researching spider venom to identify additional聽pain mechanisms and treatments.

While we may not聽be lining up for spider venom injections anytime soon, this promising discovery will hopefully聽help millions of people one day聽find relief from聽IBS, chronic pain and other diseases.

Would you try spider venom for pain relief? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)