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What are the Different Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Irritable bowel syndrome treatment options are varied, and what works best for one person may not be particularly helpful for another. Some treatment options are designed to be implemented all of the time, while others may be necessary only during flare-ups. Some of the more popular irritable bowel syndrome treatment options include dietary changes, the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications, and behavioral modifications.

Dietary changes are often recommended as the first irritable bowel syndrome treatment option. Adding extra fiber and fluid intake may help to relieve symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups. It is important to slowly add more fiber to the diet, as adding too much too soon could lead to more discomfort from the resulting gas and bloating. Over-the-counter fiber supplements are available for those who are not able to add a lot of additional fiber to the diet at meal time. Food intolerances, particularly dairy or gluten, may also lead to an increase in symptoms.

Behavioral modifications are often used as irritable bowel syndrome treatment methods. Smoking is believed to increase the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, so quitting could be beneficial in controlling some of these symptoms. Stress has also been shown to increase the intestinal spasms associated with this condition. Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga may be helpful.

Over-the-counter or prescription medications are popular irritable bowel syndrome treatment options. Over-the-counter medication options include medications designed to control constipation or diarrhea, depending on the specific symptoms present. Prescription medications may sometimes be used to control specific symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Anti-spasmotic medications may be prescribed in order to prevent or reduce the number of intestinal spasms by slowing the digestive tract. Anti-cholinergic medications may be prescribed to treat intestinal cramps or spasms, especially in those who suffer from frequent bouts of diarrhea. Care should be taken when using this type of medication, as it can cause constipation symptoms to become worse.

Low doses of certain antidepressants may be effective irritable bowel syndrome treatment options. If depression is present as well, some of these medications may be given at normal doses. These types of medications may involve negative side effects such as dizziness, so care should be taken when driving or operating any type of machinery. Antibiotics are being researched as potential irritable bowel syndrome treatment options, and early studies show a lot of promise in this area of research.

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