Treatment Options for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that causes recurring abdominal pain, cramping and other symptoms. This condition can have a significant impact on the patient’s daily life in work life, social life and relationships. A number of irritable bowel syndrome treatments are available to help patient’s cope with ongoing symptoms.
Many patients with IBS symptoms find it helpful to change their diets, removing some items and adding others:
- Adding fiber – Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can help IBS patients that suffer from recurring constipation. Whole-grains, beans and fresh fruits and vegetables all contain fiber to improve digestion. Taking Metamucil or Citrucel can also be used to add fiber to your daily intake. However, IBS patients with diarrhea symptoms may experience more cramping and pain with a high-fiber diet.
- Avoid caffeine – Coffee, caffeinated sodas and medications that contain caffeine can make IBS symptoms worse.
- Eliminate dairy products – Lactose intolerance can also make IBS symptoms worse. Eating yogurt or milk products that have removed the lactose will ensure that you continue to get calcium and vitamins.
- Avoid alcohol – Alcoholic beverages can irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal system, making symptoms worse.
Irritable bowel syndrome treatments often include the use of a number of medications:
- Alosetron, brand name Lotronex, is a medication that relaxes the contractions of the colon and slows the movement of waste through the intestines. It can be used to aid IBS with diarrhea dominant symptoms.
- Lubirprostone, brand name Amitiza, works by increasing the amount of fluid in the intestines, which helps relieve constipation dominant IBS symptoms.
- Antidiarrheal medications such as Imodium are used to control diarrhea symptoms in those with IBS.
- Bile acid binders, such as cholestyramine and colestipol, also decrease diarrhea.
- Anticholinergic and anti-spasmodic medications, such as hyoscyamine and dicyclomine can help those with diarrhea, but may worsen constipation in some types of IBS.
- Tricyclic or SSRI antidepressants can help patients deal with blocking discomfort from abdominal cramping.
Regular exercise is a good way to deal with daily stress and managing symptoms. Yoga can help to provide a physical workout, along with a calmer mental attitude. Learning meditation can also be of benefit for those who suffer from IBS symptoms.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are normally found in the intestines. Some studies suggest that patients with IBS lack sufficient amounts of this “good” bacteria. Your physician may suggest taking these probiotics to help manage symptoms.