Medicines, exercise and modifications in one’s diet are important factors in addressing IBS symptoms.


Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome or IBS will be based on what kinds of symptoms you exhibit and their degree of severity.  Your treatment plan will require your cooperation with your doctor to concoct a course of treatment that will consider all aspects of your life. It is very important that you know everything you need to know about your condition so you may thoroughly talk to your doctor and ask him questions that will enable you to take the right path in addressing your condition.


Initial treatment


Each individual reacts to treatment in different ways and a treatment that effectively works for one may not necessarily be as helpful to others in treating their IBS symptoms. You and your doctor need to identify your symptom triggers. This may mean changes in your diet and lifestyle that should not affect your daily activities. If your present treatment plan is ineffective, you need to tell your doctor about it.


In terms of diet, certain foods are suspected of aggravating IBS symptoms in a lot of people. These foods can include:


  • Uncooked broccoli or cauliflower; beans and cabbage – These are foods that cause gas or bloating in your stomach
  • Artificial sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol and fruits and dairy products – These are products that can cause diarrhea
  • Fatty foods
  • Alcohol and caffeine


Eating foods high in fiber content can help prevent constipation. If eat a diet rich in fiber content, you easily avoid constipation caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Foods that are rich in fiber include


  • Cereals
  • Whole-grain breads
  • Wheat bran
  • Fresh vegetables – Celery, spinach and peas
  • Fresh fruits – Apples, pears and raspberries


Fiber supplements can be used by people who have problems digesting fiber in their foods. One popular type of fiber supplement they can use is psyllium (brand name Metamucil).  To prevent any stomach complications, you can take fiber in small doses initially then gradually increase intake after a month or more. It also helps to drink as much fluids as possible to help clean out your digestive system of toxic elements.


Performing exercises like brisk walking, jogging or swimming regularly can alleviate stress in your body and give you a normal bowel movement.


To these modifications in lifestyle medications may also be included to help control better your IBS symptoms. IBS meds can include:


  • Anti-anxiety meds – Valium (diazepam). These drugs are to be used short-term if you have both anxiety and IBS
  • Antidepressants – Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Diarrhea drugs – These can include loperamide (Imodium) and diphenoxylate (Lomotil) to slow the movement of your intestines. Drugs like cholestyramine (Questran) inhibit the movement and passage of stools by barring bile acid to stimulate the colon and aid in stopping diarrhea. For women with severe diarrhea alosetron (Lotronex) can slow down the passage of stools from the bowels.
  • Constipation drugs – Amitiza (Lubiprostone). This drug facilitates the passing of stools by increasing fluid in the intestines; Linzess (linaclotide). This should only be taken by constipated people 18 yrs old and above; Osmotic laxatives like Milk of Magnesia and lactulose and MiraLax or polyethylene glycol. These cause body processes that make the stool softer making passing of it mush easier to do; laxatives like Senokot. This drug irritates the intestine linings speeding up stool movement.
  • Anticholinergics – These are antispasmodics like Bentyl (dicyclomine) and they relieve or prevent spasms that cause painful intestinal cramping


For long-term cramping and pain, you can use antidepressants like Norpramin (desipramine) that can, in low doses, relieve IBS-caused pain.


The aim of drug therapy is to lessen IBS symptoms that will enable you to perform your daily activities since there is no known permanent cure for IBS. Medicines will be prescribed by your physician that address constipation, diarrhea and, of course, the pain. No available medications have been made to address IBS symptoms over the long-term. Few medications have shown to be really effective in a consistent basis for IBS and all medications have undesirable side effects so only medications that can relieve specific symptoms that interfere with a person’s normal routine should be taken.


Keeping a diary of your symptoms can help you know the factors that trigger your symptoms. This way, you can effectively avoid these triggers.


In cases where one’s IBS symptoms are caused by both stress-related and physical issues, a course of treatment approach that considers both these issues will likely treat irritable bowel syndrome.


Treatment for a worsening condition


The doctor will likely conduct more tests on you if your IBS condition has worsened to a certain degree. These tests will see if other health problems are aggravating your condition. Fortunately IBS does not lead or worsen to more serious health problems like inflammatory bowel disease or cancer although these conditions can be present in a person with IBS.


Psychological treatment


Interestingly some types of psychological therapies can help relieve your IBS problems. These therapies may be combined with other therapies like medication, stress reduction or diet modification to get maximum beneficial results. Hypnosis, psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are some of the noteworthy therapies that can be used for the relief of IBS symptoms.


Other psychological treatments that are sometimes used for IBS include biofeedback, meditation and relaxation therapy.


Alternative Therapies


  • Herbal remedies – These can include Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. They both have shown to be effective in treating IBS symptoms
  • Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese treatment is highly effective in treating abdominal pain caused by IBS as well as stomach cramping and frequent urinary and bowel movement urgencies among others.
  • Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil has shown to relieve intestinal cramping and spasms.
  • Aloe – This is a plant that prevent stomach constipation
  • Ginger
  • Probiotics – Some types of bacteria can help neutralize the symptoms caused by IBS


Acupuncture Health Center
1303 Astor St #101
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 715-1824