What To Do If You Think You Have Ibs
If you have symptoms of IBS that interfere with your quality of life, visit a primary care doctor near you, who can help diagnose IBS and rule out other diseases that mimic it. If you dont already have a physician, you can use the Healthline FindCare tool to find a provider near you.
IBS is diagnosed by recurrent abdominal pain for at least 6 months, combined with weekly pain for 3 months as well as some combination of pain relieved by bowel movements and changes in frequency or form of bowel movements.
Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in digestive diseases, who can help you identify triggers and discuss ways to control your symptoms.
Lifestyle changes, such as a low-FODMAPs diet, stress relief, exercise, drinking plenty of water and over-the-counter laxatives can also help. Interestingly, a low-FODMAPs diet is one of the most promising lifestyle changes for alleviating symptoms .
Identifying other trigger foods can be difficult, as these are different for each person. Keeping a diary of meals and ingredients can help identify triggers (
Additionally, avoiding digestive stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol and sugary beverages, can reduce symptoms in some people .
If your symptoms dont respond to lifestyle changes or over-the-counter treatments, there are several medications proven to help in difficult cases.
Supplements And Medications For Ibs Relief
Medications typically arent the first line of treatment for IBS, but they may be helpful for people with moderate to severe symptoms who have tried different dietary strategies without success.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following remedies.
Fiber supplements If increasing fiber in your diet isnt effective, you can take a variety of supplements containing different forms of soluble fiber. This is particularly helpful for people who experience constipation.
Smooth muscle relaxants These drugs can help with intestinal cramping, abdominal pain, and bouts of diarrhea, but its best to talk to your doctor if you plan to use them frequently or regularly. In some cases, though, they may cause constipation. The guidelines recommend against the use of antispasmodics currently available in the United States to treat global IBS symptoms.
Pain relievers Certain drugs that act on the brains pain sensory mechanisms may help ease severe abdominal pain or bloating while the root causes are explored. Opiate medications like oxycodone, codeine, and others are not recommend for chronic use to manage IBS symptoms and can actually worsen the overall disease.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have IBS symptoms, ask your provider:
- Could another condition be causing my symptoms?
- What medications can help?
- What foods should I avoid?
- What other lifestyle changes should I make?
- Can a dietitian help me?
- Should I see a gastroenterologist?
- When will I start to feel better?
- Am I at risk for other health conditions?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Living with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can be challenging. IBS symptoms, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, gas and bloating, often interfere with your life. But IBS is manageable. Though there is no cure, you can control and improve symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. If you have stomach symptoms that arent going away, talk to your healthcare provider. Together, you can find an IBS treatment plan that works for you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/24/2020.
Don’t Miss: How Does The Microbiome Work
Prescription Drugs For Ibs
IBS-Dpatients suffer from a multitude of symptoms including abdominal pain,bloating, and diarrhea. The commonly used prescription drugs only address asingle symptom rather than the constellation of symptoms observed in IBS-Dpatients. Recent advancements in the treatment of IBS have produced newermedications that not only treat the multiple symptoms but have beenspecifically studied and approved for use by Health Canada in IBS-D patients.
Physiciansmay now prescribe one or a combination of drugs that:
- reduce abdominal pain byblocking the pain signals to the brain
- relax the muscles in thegut to reduce diarrhea and the urgent, uncontrollable need to use the washroom
- reduce both abdominal andbowel symptoms including pain, bloating, urgency and diarrhea Your doctor candetermine if a combination or a single treatment is right for you.
The Benefits Of Talking With A Therapist For Ibs
For many people with IBS, emotional stress plays an important role in the frequency and severity of their symptoms.
Its important to have a discussion with your doctor about how stress might be contributing to your symptoms. If you both agree that stress, anxiety, or depression could be affecting your IBS, you may be referred to a mental health professional.
When you see a therapist, the following strategies may be used to improve your symptoms. It could also be beneficial to have a multidisciplinary team to support you, in which your doctor-led care includes a nutritionist and mental health professional, for example.
Cognitive behavioral therapy This type of talk therapy focuses on helping you change your patterns of thought and behavior. Years of research support its effectiveness as a treatment for IBS.
Gut-directed psychotherapyRelaxation training
Don’t Miss: How To Choose A Probiotic
The Approach Of A Gastroenterologist
Gastroenterology is primarily a specialty in assessing the structure of the digestive tract. Gastroenterologists are experts in evaluating how the digestive tract looks and in very specific diseases of the digestive tract, not syndromes or symptoms that can only be described by the patient but not seen by the doctor.
Gastroenterologists primarily focus on the visual inspection of the digestive tract, like performing colonoscopies and upper endoscopies. They also do other imaging work of the GI tract, such as an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, x-rays, and even pill cameras.
They may also perform studies that assess the motility of the digestive tract. Therefore, if you go to a gastroenterologist, your diagnosis will be based on these types of testing.
Gastroenterologists are focused on diagnosing ulcers, polyps, cancers, and other physically and visually apparent abnormalities of the digestive tract. This is a very important specialty, and their significance cannot be overstated. However, this does not mean that they are experts in everything related to digestion.
Gastroenterologists have no special training in immunology even though the digestive tract is the single most concentrated area of immune activity in the body, nor do they have any special training in diet or nutrition, or most types of reactions to foods. They also do not have any special training in the use of different types of probiotics, different types of enzymes, or the treatment of deficiencies of stomach acid.
What Happens At Your Gp Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms, such as:
- what symptoms you have
- if they come and go
- how often you get them
- when you get them
- how long you’ve had them for
Before your appointment, it might help to write down details of your symptoms to help you remember them.
The GP may also feel your tummy to check for lumps or swelling.
Don’t Miss: What Do Probiotic Drinks Do
Types Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There are 2 main types of irritable bowel syndrome: IBS-C and IBS-D.
What Are The Four Types Of Ibs
Doctors often classify IBS into one of four types based on your usual stool consistency. These types are important because they affect the types of treatment that are most likely to improve your symptoms.
The four types of IBS are
- IBS with constipation, or IBS-C
- hard or lumpy stools at least 25 percent of the time
- loose or watery stools less than 25 percent of the time
Don’t Miss: Does Prilosec Help With Bloating
How Can I Reduce The Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Although IBS cannot be prevented, symptoms can be reduced, and healthy lifestyle habits can often help.
Careful changes to your diet can help reduce the symptoms of IBS.
One tip that may help you reduce your symptoms is to simply increase your intake of high-fibre foods.
It is best to slowly increase your fibre intake up to the recommended daily dose to avoid bloating and wind-related discomfort.
The current recommendation for adults is to eat at least 25g to 30g of fibre each day. In a typical day, try to include 1 serving of high-fibre breakfast cereal in the morning, at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables throughout the day and 3 servings of dairy foods if you are lactose intolerant, chose a dairy-free or low lactose alternative as well as 6 to 8 glasses of water.
If this is difficult for you, ask your pharmacist for a soluble fibre supplement, such as psyllium.
Some foods and drinks commonly trigger IBS, so try to reduce your intake of the following to see if this helps:
- gas-producing foods, such as onion, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, dried beans, lentils and cauliflower
- foods with lactose such as milk, ice-cream, some yoghurts
- alcoholic drinks
- artificial sweeteners in food and drink, such as aspartame, sorbitol and mannitol
A dietitian can help you identify your individual triggers and can work with you to create a balanced diet that suits you.
How Is Ibs Diagnosed
If youve been having uncomfortable GI symptoms, see your healthcare provider. The first step in diagnosing IBS is a medical history and a physical exam. Your provider will ask you about your symptoms:
- Do you have pain related to bowel movements?
- Do you notice a change in how often you have a bowel movement?
- Has there been a change in how your poop looks?
- How often do you have symptoms?
- When did your symptoms start?
- What medicines do you take?
- Have you been sick or had a stressful event in your life recently?
Depending on your symptoms, you may need other tests to confirm a diagnosis. Blood tests, stool samples and X-rays can help rule out other diseases that mimic IBS.
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Constipation From Adderall
Learn More About Ibs By Visiting Insite Digestive Health Care
In the state of California, inSite Digestive Health Care has a wide network of GI specialists who understand the challenges of irritable bowel syndrome. If youre ready for help, please contact one of our area offices through our online office locator. We have more than 20 practices statewide and numerous gastroenterologists who offer state-of-the-art testing and treatments.
We look forward to helping you optimize your digestive health!
What Tests Would You Have For Your Symptoms
If you have tests, your doctor will decide which ones to do based in part on which symptoms bother you the most.
At your first visit, your doctor may recommend some of these tests:
- Medical history and physical examination
- A blood test for celiac disease. Many doctors do this test, because the symptoms of IBS and celiac disease can be the same.
- Tests for lactose intolerance. Taking a breath test or trying a lactose-free diet may show that you have trouble digesting lactose.
- Blood tests. They can show an illness or infection.
- Stool analysis, which may include testing for blood in the stool , infection , or parasites
Your doctor may also recommend other tests not in this list, such flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Whether you have tests before you try home treatment may depend on your age and health history and which tests your doctor uses the most.
If you have an abnormal test result, it may mean that you have a problem other than IBS. You also may have both IBS and another problem.
Also Check: Does Corn Make You Bloated
How To Cure Ibs Permanently In 5 Steps
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder of the large intestine. IBS causes stomach pain and irregular bowel movements.
Many experts consider IBS to be incurable. But here at PrimeHealth, we personally walk with and help patients reverse their IBS permanently.
Done letting your gut issues rule your life? Join PrimeHealths Gut Health Group Visits and find lasting relief with a community of others who understand. only a few spots remain for the next group beginning on Sept 20!
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:
There are 4 types of IBS:
Is IBS a lifelong condition? Many gastroenterologists claim that IBS is a lifelong condition. Other doctors do not agree, though. Cutting-edge research is revealing that IBS can be cured for many patients.
Keep reading to learn about:
- How your gut microbiome affects IBS
- Functional IBS treatments
- How to cure IBS permanently in 5 steps
How Can I Best Take Care Of Myself If I Have Ibs
IBS will likely be with you for life. But it doesnt shorten your lifespan, and you wont need surgery to treat it. To feel your best, try to identify and avoid your triggers, including certain foods, medications and stressful situations. A dietitian can help you plan a nutritious diet around your specific needs. Talk to your healthcare provider if symptoms dont improve.
Also Check: How To Ease Constipation In Toddlers
Pain Unrelated To Bowel Movements
The official diagnostic criteria for IBS specifies that abdominal pain and cramping related to bowel movements. Although many patients will tell you that that is not always the case, in IBS there is a sense that their pain and cramping is related to their diarrhea or constipation symptoms.
Any persistent pain symptoms should be brought to the attention of your physician. If you already have an IBS diagnosis but suspect that your pain is not typical of IBS, tell your doctor immediately.
Dont Miss: Does Xanax Help With Ibs
How Does Ibs Affect My Body
In people with IBS, the colon muscle tends to contract more than in people without the condition. These contractions cause cramps and pain. People with IBS also tend to have a lower pain tolerance. Research has also suggested that people with IBS may have excess bacteria in the GI tract, contributing to symptoms.
Don’t Miss: How To Cope With Ibs Flare Up
What Is Ibs Treatment
No specific therapy works for everyone, but most people with IBS can find a treatment that works for them. Your healthcare provider will personalize your IBS treatment plan for your needs. Typical treatment options include dietary and lifestyle changes. A dietitian can help you create a diet that fits your life.
Many people find that with these changes, symptoms improve:
- Increase fiber in your diet eat more fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts.
- Add supplemental fiber to your diet, such as Metamucil® or Citrucel®.
- Drink plenty of water eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
- Avoid caffeine .
- Limit cheese and milk. Lactose intolerance is more common in people with IBS. Make sure to get calcium from other sources, such as broccoli, spinach, salmon or supplements.
- Try the low FODMAP diet, an eating plan that can help improve symptoms.
- Try relaxation techniques.
- Eat smaller meals more often.
- Record the foods you eat so you can figure out which foods trigger IBS flare-ups. Common triggers are red peppers, green onions, red wine, wheat and cows milk.
What happens if medications dont work?
In some cases, symptoms dont respond to medical treatment. Your provider may refer you for mental health therapies. Some patients find relief through:
What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to have tests for IBS symptoms
Reasons not to have tests
Even if home care helps my symptoms, I’ll worry that I have something serious.
If home care helps my symptoms, I won’t worry that I have something serious.
I don’t want to wait and see if home care gets rid of my symptoms.
I want to give home care a chance to relieve my symptoms.
I don’t mind if the tests are a little uncomfortable.
I don’t want to have tests that could be uncomfortable unless I have to.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Bloated
How Can You Treat Ibs Symptoms At Home
Treatment usually includes making changes to your diet and lifestyle. You may try to:
- Increase the fibre in your diet. Try to eat more fresh fruits and fresh vegetables . Also try to eat more whole-grain breads and cereals.
- Avoid or limit gas-producing foods or drinks. These include beans and cabbage, sugar-free chewing gum and candy, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Get regular exercise.
- Keep a journal or diary of events in your life to try to find a link between stress and your symptoms.
- Enjoy hobbies and other activities to help you relax.
- Get counselling if you need help to lower your stress.