IBS is a group of symptoms; therefore, IBS symptom treatments vary.
Most medicines are aimed at only one symptom. If your IBS is interfering with your daily life, your healthcare provider may suggest or prescribe a medicine based on your most troubling symptom. Effects will vary widely from person to person.
All medicines have possible side effects. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about these including what to watch out for and what to do if side effects do occur.
Here are some examples of treatments that target certain symptoms:
Antispasmodics and some peppermint oils, taken before meals, may provide short-term reduction of abdominal pain after eating. However, the evidence for their effectiveness is weak.
Probiotics based on bifidobacteria and some combinations of probiotics may help reduce pain and bloating. Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be of benefit, but they must be taken in adequate amounts.
A soluble fiber supplement, such as psyllium may help with simple constipation. If fiber doesn’t help, talk to your doctor about a laxative. Neither helps with pain.
Loperamide may help with simple diarrhea, as well as leakage or soiling. It does not help with pain.
Gas & Bloating
The most common ways to reduce the discomfort of gas are changing diet, taking medicines, and reducing the amount of air swallowed.
Good communication – the healthcare provider-patient relationship – is an important part of effective long-term management of IBS and other chronic conditions. Preparing yourself for appointments and effectively communicating with your healthcare provider will make a difference in your outcome. Learn more about ways to improve your healthcare provider-patient communication.
Medications for IBS
There are many treatment options available for IBS and new research continues to expand the field. Talking to your healthcare provider about the medications available to treat your IBS symptoms is an important step in finding the right treatment for you.
More Treatment Resources
Watch the Norton Education Series: IBS Edition for presentations on IBS symptom treatment options for IBS subtypes.