IBS Treatments

Daily Health Solutions, Digestive Health
on September 13, 2011

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is uncomfortable, bothersome and sometimes painful. If you are dealing with the cramps, bloating, gas and other symptoms of IBS, you will need to know what treatments are available.

IBS is common and controllable. The signs and symptoms of IBS are easily managed with your doctor’s assistance. Once you have been properly diagnosed with IBS, you will work with your doctor in designing a treatment plan that is safe and successful.

Lifestyle and dietary changes can help with IBS. You can do some simple and useful things at home to help control irritable bowel syndrome. A doctor may also prescribe medications in addition if your condition is not easily managed. Try the following:

  • Consume plenty of fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber supplements like methylcellulose and psyllium, along with proper amounts of water, can help control the constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Eating a diet rich in fiber is also highly beneficial.
  • Avoid foods that produce gas. Uncomfortable bloating can be alleviated by a carefully controlled diet. Stay away from foods that cause gas, such as soda, raw vegetables and beans.
  • Antibiotics may benefit irritable bowel syndrome. Doctors don’t understand exactly why antibiotics might help those with IBS. It is thought that in some cases, IBS is due to an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria. More research is necessary.
  • Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine helps. Sometimes a bout of IBS leads to diarrhea that is uncomfortable and inconvenient. A loperamide such as Imodium has been effective in controlling these symptoms.
  • Painful bowel spasms are alleviated by anticholinergics. Sometimes the cramps and diarrhea that come with IBS can be difficult to handle. Medication that controls these cramps and spasms are available and very effective. Just be aware that every medication has side effects and that these medications can aggravate constipation.
  • Antidepressants alleviate pain, depression and IBS. Tricyclics or SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are not for depression alone. These useful medications inhibit the activity of neurons that control the intestines, alleviating pain and constipation. However, these medications can worsen diarrhea. Additional IBS-specific medications are approved for certain cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Alosetron is thought to relax the colon and slow waste elimination. It is used restrictively and with close medical supervision. Lubiprostone increases fluid secretion and assists with stool passing.
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