What are the treatments for irritable bowel syndrome?

Treatment for IBS. Although there is no simple cure for IBS, there are treatments that can help reduce the symptoms. These include changes to your lifestyle, medicines and psychological treatments. With the help of your doctor, you can decide which is most suited to you.


Diet advice

For most people with IBS, a healthy lifestyle is the best way to improve symptoms. The following general advice about diet may help.

• Eat regular meals.
• Drink enough fluids. Limit caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee, alcohol and soft drinks.
• Cut down on foods rich in insoluble fibre, such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain rice and cereals containing bran.
• Eat no more than three portions of fruit a day.
• Avoid processed foods. These may contain 'resistant starch' which is difficult for your body to digest.
• If you have diarrhoea, cut out the artificial sweetener sorbitol. This is used in some sugar-free sweets and drinks, and diet products.
• Try the supplement ispaghula powder to help relieve constipation.
• Bloating symptoms may be improved by eating oats, which are found in some cereals and porridge, and a tablespoon of linseeds each day.

Other lifestyle advice

Regular exercise is a good way to help reduce your symptoms. It helps keep your bowel movements regular and reduces stress. If your symptoms are noticeably triggered by stress, try learning stress management or relaxation techniques. Keeping a diary to compare your symptoms with life events may also be helpful.

If you recognise that certain events trigger your symptoms, it may be easier to deal with the problem that is causing the symptoms. If these self-help treatments don't work, see your doctor for advice. He or she can help you identify factors that may be making your IBS worse, and suggest other treatments. If certain foods still seem to bring on your symptoms after trying this diet advice, seeing a dietitian may be helpful.


There are several over-the-counter medicines available from your pharmacist that can relieve some of the symptoms of IBS. These are listed below.

• Anti-diarrhoea medicines, such as loperamide (eg Imodium) may help. You should only take them as needed, not on a regular basis.
• Certain laxatives, such as ispaghula husk (eg Fybogel), can help if you have constipation. These are bulk-forming laxatives. Stronger laxatives called bowel-stimulating laxatives, such as senna, may help. However, you should speak to your doctor before using them routinely.
Antispasmodic medicines, such as mebeverine hydrochloride (eg Colofac), alverine citrate and peppermint oil capsules, may help with stomach cramps and wind.
• Probiotics contain helpful bacteria and yeasts and are contained in some yoghurts. There is some scientific evidence that certain strains can be helpful for IBS symptoms, but this isn't conclusive.
• If you need to use painkillers, ibuprofen (eg Nurofen) or aspirin may make your symptoms worse. Try to use paracetamol.

Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.

Your doctor may prescribe medicines for IBS. These include prescription-only versions of the medicines mentioned above. Low-dose antidepressants can reduce the pain of IBS, even if you're not depressed.

If your symptoms don't improve after a year of treatment, your doctor may consider psychological therapies.

Talking treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy or psychotherapy can help relieve the symptoms. These may be most useful for people who have personal difficulties to deal with. Your doctor may refer you to a suitable therapist.

Related Questions

Treatments for irritable bowel syndrome?

Proper diet and flui. Eat consistently every day both in time and types/quantity of foods, modest amount of fiber in diet, and drinking 80-100 ounces non caffeinated, non alcoholic fluid daily. Read more...

What are symptoms and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome?

IBS is generally a. diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other causes of the symptoms have been ruled out. The symptoms are abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation,mucous in the stool; one can have all or some of the symptoms.The symptoms are often worse at times of increased stress. The treatment varies from person to person, but includes: reduction of stress, dietary changes and sometimes medications. Read more...

I am suffering from irritable bowel syndrome for a long time what is the best treatment for that in usa?

Diet and fluids. I rarely prescribe meds for ibs. In my experience teaching people to eat and drink properly resolves most if not all symptoms when the patient is compliant and follows through. Hi fiber, 80-100 ounces non caffeine, non alcoholic beverages each day, regular meal times, excercise. Consistency is the key to being symptom free. Read more...

I need info about irritable bowel syndrome. Is the treatment different that for crohn's?

Not at all the same! Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disorder- the bowel looks normal, but reacts to stimuli differently that the bowel of people without ibs. Crohn's disease is one of the inflammatory bowel diseases (ibd), in which the bowel's architecture is changed, and there are a number of risks, including that of intestinal cancer. Irritable bowel is often treated with fiber, fluid, and counseling. Read more...

Diagnosed with gastroparesis and irritable bowel syndrome but treatments don't work. Why?

Gastroparesis hard. Unfortunately there is no good treatment to gastroparesis, there motility centers that might help, have your gastroenetrologist help you out. Read more...

What is the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)?

Varies. Avoiding triggers of the diarrhea and constipation that frequently accompany irritable bowel syndrome are a mainstay of treatment. Dietary changes, lifestyle changes, relaxation therapy, yoga, and other measures to reduce stress are helpful for many people. There are no current effective medications for all ibs patients. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe targeted meds. Read more...
Metabolic treatment. Irritable bowel syndrome is the multifactorial consequence of hormonal, immune system and nervous system dysfunction resulting from genetic predispositions and dietary and environmental insults. The predominant symptoms like diarrhea cramps constipation are the result of autonomic nervous system instability. Pts like you may benefit from a metabolically directed approach check out mdwellnessmd.Com. Read more...