Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There is no cure for IBS. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms.
The following changes to your diet may help control symptoms:
- Keep a food diary of what you eat and how your body responds. Share this with your doctor. You may have a food allergy.
- Make gradual changes to your diet. Record the results.
- Avoid foods that have caused problems in the past. A dietitian can help you substitute foods.
- Avoid foods and drinks that may cause symptoms:
- High fat foods, spicy foods
- Dairy products
- Onions, cabbage, and other gas-producing food
- Large amounts of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or caffeine
- Eat foods that may reduce the chance of spasm, such as:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains and other high-fiber foods (More fiber may increase gas and bloating until your body adjusts.)
- Eat smaller meals more often or smaller portions.
- Eat slowly and try not to swallow air.
- Drink plenty of water. This will help to reduce constipation.
Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce stress , such as:
- Exercise (This also improves bowel function.)
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
- Antispasmodic agent (eg, dicyclomine, alverine citrate)
- High-fiber bulking agent (eg, psyllium )
- Antiflatulant (eg, simethicone)
- Antidiarrheal agent (eg, loperamide )
- Low-dose antidepressant
- Pain reliever (eg, acetaminophen )-may help with crampy abdominal pain
- Serotonin receptor agonists and antagonists (also called 5-HT3 antagonists)-may be helpful for treating diarrhea, as well as treating other IBS symptoms, like abdominal pain in women (eg, alosetron )
- Probiotics ("friendly" bacteria)-may be helpful, but talk to your doctor before taking
- Peppermint oil
In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you take a combination of medicines.