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What are the Best Remedies for IBS Pain?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is an extremely uncomfortable sensation in the abdomen that may involve diarrhea or constipation. The abdominal pain is often accompanied by flatulence and a feeling of constantly being full and somewhat nauseous. While IBS pain is distressing, there are several ways to effectively minimize and resolve the pain associated with the health condition and help restore some sense of normalcy to the daily routine.

One of the best ways to contain IBS pain is to keep a daily food journal. Doing so makes it possible to identify which foods seem to aggravate the condition and which ones do not. Along with the type of food, include the quantity consumed at each meal and a description of any type of discomfort that occurs as well. This can help you determine which foods seem to bring on a stomachache, which ones trigger gas and bloating, and which ones lead to bouts of constipation and diarrhea. The collected data will make it much easier to determine what you should and should not consume at any give meal.

A heating pad is one effective home remedy that works for many people dealing with IBS pain. When possible, lying on the back and applying a heating pad directly to the stomach area for a half hour or so can help bring about relief from many of the symptoms associated with the condition. It is a good idea to have some type of thin cloth between the skin surface in order to minimize the chances of burning the skin. In addition, using deep heating rubs on the skin in conjunction with the heating pad will not increase the effectiveness of the process; in fact, doing so will increase the chances of sustaining a burn to the area.

Some people suffering with any form of gastroenteritis find that the consumption of peppermint oil can help ease the symptoms associated with pain from IBS. The oil can be taken as a capsule along with water, or made into a soothing tea. While peppermint oil does help to calm the pain, it may also increase the possibility of experiencing heartburn in a few people.

The properties of some antidepressant drugs are effective with some instances of IBS pain. Generally, the dosage prescribed for Irritable Bowel Syndrome is significantly lower than when using the medication to treat depression. The benefits do not usually appear until the medication has been taken for at least a couple of weeks.

Antispasmodic medications are also effective when dealing with pain from IBS. Drugs of this type help to relax the muscles found in the intestinal tract and stomach, relieving some of the constant tension and pressure caused by IBS. In many cases, the medication is taken thirty minutes to an hour before eating and will help minimize or even eliminate the symptoms.

Working with your doctor will help you determine the exact range of symptoms related to your IBS pain as well as identify any ancillary health issues that may be impacting the severity of your symptoms. A qualified physician can determine what course of treatment will be most effective in your case and make it possible for you to manage the pain while you move toward recovery.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon331012 — On Apr 20, 2013

I can only liken the pain of IBS as extremely upsetting and debilitating. It causes me to spend lots of time in bed under the duvet. I have to take lots of over the counter tablets.

By FreyaSpade — On Aug 09, 2011

Reducing spasms in the colon can help manage pain, bloating, and bowel dysfunction associated with IBS. A product out there that helps treat the spasmodic colon is called Donnatal. Anyone ever heard of it? Thoughts on it?

By 6pack — On Nov 28, 2010

Habura - I don't know that you should regularly be taking Metamucil or Milk of Magnesia. I think the best way to avoid that IBS abdominal pain really is to just avoid the foods that cause your IBS to flare up. I found cheese to be the culprit, and though I miss it, it's just not worth the pain. I've cut it out of my diet, as well as all dairy-based foods, and my IBS is virtually non-existent.

By bookworm — On Nov 25, 2010

My IBS comes via groin pain. The best way for me to relieve that is with the use of a heat compress. Or, I'll just sit in a warm bath. It's not fun but it does help just a little.

By habura — On Nov 25, 2010

IBS stomach pain is the worst! For me the key remedy was laxatives. Maybe if I ate prodigious amounts of fiber it'd mean I wouldn't need the laxatives but eating normal amounts of fiber and taking fiber supplements works for me. I don't take the hard core laxatives -- just the more mild stuff like metamucil or even milk of magnesia.

By catapult43 — On Nov 24, 2010

The only foolproof, natural remedy is finding the right IBS diet for you. I say a food diary is the only way to go.

By KittenHerder — On Nov 24, 2010

My IBS manifests as ribs pain that is really debilitating. So for me prevention is key. The food diary that dill1971 mentioned was instrumental. It helped me figure out what foods I'm sensitive to and I now stay away from them. I haven't had that horrible IBS pain under my ribs in years as a result.

By dill1971 — On Nov 17, 2010

I have found that keeping a food diary is very effective. This helps to determine what foods trigger my IBS and can then help me determine what to stay away from. There are several prescription medications that can help relieve the symptoms of IBS. However, you should always be careful when taking laxatives because, surprisingly enough, they can be habit forming.

Another thing that can help decrease the symptoms of IBS is to eat smaller portions at mealtimes.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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