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Treatment of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

The cause of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is not clear, hence treatment is mainly aimed at relieving symptoms and helping the patient live life as normal as possible. Managing stress and making dietary changes and lifestyle changes goes a long way in helping managing symptoms, especially minor symptoms. It is best to avoid triggers that may initiate symptoms of IBS. Regular exercise, adequate sleep and lots of liquid are also helpful in management of IBS.ID-100282658

Dietary changes in management of IBS:

  • Avoid foods that may produce excess gas in stomach and gastrointestinal tract, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc. Avoid carbonated drinks also. All of these foods produce lots of gas and cause bloating, which is an important symptom of IBS.
  • Some individuals are sensitive to certain foods such as fructose, fructans, lactose, which are known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols). They are found in certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. If you are one of the sensitive individuals to FODMAPs, avoid them, if you have IBS, your symptoms will improve.
  • Some patients with IBS have been shown to improve if gluten (found in wheat, rye and barley, but absent in rice) is eliminated from diet (although they do not suffer from coeliac disease, which is due to gluten intolerance). Hence gluten may be eliminated from diet and rice and other gluten free cereals, consumed instead. This is still controversial and one need to be cautious.
  • Buy IBS Relief System online (which is easily available with a click of your mouse) and try it yourself. It is useful in management of IBS.

Medications for management of IBS:

  • If you have constipation predominant type of IBS, take fiber supplement such as psyllium or methylcellulose. This can improve constipation problem. If you eat high fiber diet, instead of fiber supplements, it may produce more gas and cause excess bloating. If fiber supplement does not help, your doctor may prescribe, laxatives for constipation.
  • If you have diarrhea predominant type of IBS, you may take anti-diarrheal agents such as loperamide, to improve symptoms. You may also benefit from medications such as cholestyramine, colestipol etc, which are bile acid binding drugs.
  • Drugs for spasm, such as dicyclomine hyoscyamine etc. help in relieving powerful spasms, which some patients with IBS experience. These drugs should be used with caution as they have various side effects such as raise intra-ocular pressure and precipitate glaucoma, cause constipation, difficulty in micturition etc.
  • Stress management is important part of IBS management. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) are helpful in managing stress.
  • Counselling is an important part of IBS management. It is important to inform patient about the disease and to inform that there is no cure and the patient should learn to live life with IBS. Counselling is also required to reduce depression and stress, which may worsen the symptoms of IBS.

Image courtesy of [Praisaeng] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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