Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Despite the fact that there is actually no simple cure for irritable bowel syndrome, there are treatments that may help reduce the symptoms.

Stomach Pain from IBS


For most people having IBS, a healthful life style is the most effective way to improve symptoms. This includes the following:

  • If your main symptom is diarrhea, you should try to avoid having tea, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods and the artificial sweetener sorbitol, because these may increase your symptoms.
  • If your key symptom is constipation, move to a more fiber-rich diet. Some rich sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, flax seeds, chia seeds, oatmeal, and bran.
  • If bloating or wind is a problem, cutting out gas-producing foods, such as beans and green vegetables may help.

Other people who have IBS have discovered certain foods that can induce the symptoms; then again, there is no easy way to go about identifying these particular foods. One way of achieving this is to to maintain a regular set of healthy foods in your diet and simply try removing one food at a time if the IBS symptoms appear. You may also seek advice from a dietician.


If stress leads to your IBS, studying stress management or relaxation techniques may be useful. You may also find keeping a diary to compare your symptoms with life events helpful. If certain events are identified as triggers, it may be easier to deal with the stress of them.

Having an active lifestyle and doing regular exercises aids in eliminating stress and promoting regular bowel movement.

Pain Meds

Irritable Bowel SyndromeIf you need to use painkillers, paracetamol is less likely than ibuprofen or aspirin to make your IBS worse.

While dealing with irritable bowel syndrome yourself is not actively discouraged, you should seek advice from your general practitioner if you don’t get any relief. Doctors will also discuss your symptoms with you and help recognize the factors that could be causing them to act up or get worse.

Over The Counter Meds

There are also some over-the-counter medications available for the treatment of IBS symptoms. Those suffering from diarrhea may find some relief with anti-dirahhea medicines like loperamide, although they should only be used as needed. Laxatives, such as bran or ispaghula husk can be helpful. These are bulk-forming laxatives. You should know though, that for some people, bran only serves to worsen the symptoms.

Another option to bulk-forming medications is lactulose. It increases the amount of water absorbed in your large bowel but can cause wind. There are also other forms of laxative which are more concentrated and bowel-stimulating such as senna, but you need to get medical advice prior to using these agents.

Antispasmodic medicines, such as mebeverine hydrochloride and peppermint oil capsules, may help with pain and wind. Harmless bacteria known as probiotics are sometimes used as an added ingredient in yogurts. A few medical findings point to some bacterial strains as useful for IBS symptoms, but these studies are not conclusive as yet.

Prescription Meds

Your health care provider may also prescribe medicines for IBS. These include prescription-only versions of the medicines mentioned above. Low-dose antidepressants are shown to be helpful, even though you are not depressed.


As stress, in addition to other psychological causes, can cause IBS, behavioral therapy and psychotherapy are additional forms of treatment suggested for some people – especially for those who have personal issues to contend with. Ask your general practitioner for a referral to an appropriate therapist.

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