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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Treatment and Care

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Chetan B. Mahajan 91% (112ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery , DNB (General Surgery), MNAMS (Membership of the National Academy), Fellow HPB Surgery & Liver Transplant (Singapore) , FICS - RPSLH - RPSLH
Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad  •  25years experience
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Treatment and Care

Patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome experience severe abdominal pain, abdominal bloating along with cramping, gas, constipation and a constant urge to go to the toilet again and again. IBS is a health disorder where the large intestine or the colon is affected. This condition is a chronic one and requires long-term management. The symptoms are usually worse after eating and tend to occur in episodes. Although the disorder cannot be reversed, several symptoms can be managed or controlled by making lifestyle and dietary modifications. Most patients with IBS will experience flare-ups that last for a few days. For others, medical treatment is required.

Treatment and Care

Different procedures are used to treat IBS, which vary from person to person. However, one single treatment does not work with everyone.

Lifestyle and Dietary changes:

By making several basic modifications to your regular diet and activities, IBS improves with time. Here are some tips:

  1. You should avoid caffeine in any form such as coffee, tea or soda.
  2. You should increase the amount of fiber in your diet and include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts.
  3. You must drink three to four glasses of water regularly.
  4. Smoking should be abstained from.
  5. You must undertake relaxation techniques and work out in order to reduce stress.
  6. Your amount of dairy product consumption must be reduced. 
  7. You should eat frequent, small meals instead of fewer large meals.
  8. The most common food triggers, which lead to IBS are green onions, red wine, milk and red peppers. You should not consume these products.
  9. You should keep a record of the types of food you consume so that you can identify the IBS triggering food items.
  10. You should eliminate high gas producing food items from your diet. Food items which may result in passing excess amount of gas such as carbonated vegetables and vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower should not be consumed. 

Medications:

Several medicines are used to treat IBS. These include the following:

  1. Antispasmodics are used to control muscle spasms in the large intestine.
  2. Antidiarrhoeal medicines are used to control the symptoms of diarrhoea.
  3. Laxatives are prescribed for relief from constipation.
  4. Bulking agents like wheat bran and corn fibers are used to slow down the food movement through the digestive system. They also relieve symptoms.
  5. Antidepressants are also used in case of some patients with IBS for relief.
  6. In patients, whose symptoms occur due to bacterial overgrowth in the intestines, certain antibiotics may be used for treatment.

There are several triggers of IBS, which must be identified and treatment should be undertaken after that. For the proper identification and best treatment of IBS which suits your symptoms, it is essential you consult a gastroenterologist. Alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture, using certain herbs and probiotics can also be followed.

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