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Find An Experienced Health Professional
People with IBS can become frustrated and feel their symptoms are not treated seriously. These frustrations, along with sometimes inappropriate therapy, can often make the symptoms worse. Finding a therapist with experience in the successful treatment of IBS is important. Being treated by a multidisciplinary team is optimal.
These Therapies Are Aimed At Providing Symptom Relief
Irritable bowel syndrome , a gastrointestinal disorder, can have a huge impact on quality of life. IBS causes abdominal pain and changes in bowel movement patterns. Depending on the type of IBS you have, you might experience diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of these symptoms.1
Although doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes IBS, it’s believed to involve signals between the gut and the brain. Treatments, which include lifestyle and dietary changes, medication, and mental health therapy, are designed to help with symptoms.2, 3
Here’s what research says about treatments for reducing and controlling IBS symptoms.
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Will I Need A Colonoscopy
Depending on your symptoms, medical history and other factors, your provider may recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to examine your colon in more detail. These two outpatient procedures are similar. The difference is that a sigmoidoscopy examines just the lower half of the colon. A colonoscopy examines the entire colon.
Heres what you can expect during a colonoscopy. Your provider will:
Often, providers can make an accurate diagnosis and even deliver treatment using a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a much less invasive procedure compared to an abdominal operation.
What Are The Symptoms
The symptoms of IBS will be slightly different for everyone, but it typically causes tummy cramps, bloating, and either diarrhoea or constipation. Your tummy pain might be relieved when you pass stool. You may also notice changes in your bowel habit such as a change in frequency, a feeling of urgency, or a sense of incomplete emptying when you have gone to the toilet. Other symptoms include tiredness, nausea, flatulence, backache, headache, or bladder symptoms.
If you notice that you are passing blood in your stool, losing weight unintentionally, or if there is a new lump or mass in your abdomen, you should see your doctor immediately.
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When Should I Seek Medical Advice
If you have the symptoms above, see your doctor for a check-up. See your doctor immediately if have any of the following symptoms:
- unintentional or unexplained weight loss
- rectal bleeding that is not due to haemorrhoids
- waking from sleep with pain or the need to empty your bowel
- symptoms first beginning when you are older than 50 years
- iron deficiency anaemia.
Medications For Constipation Or Diarrhea
Medications for constipation or diarrhea can also be used, depending on which of these problems a person mainly has. But there’s hardly any research on their effectiveness in IBS. Many laxatives and anti-diarrhea medications are available in pharmacies without a prescription.
If they don’t work, a doctor can prescribe constipation medications containing the drugs prucalopride or linaclotide . Studies have shown that linaclotide can relieve the symptoms of IBS with constipation. These medications may cause side effects such as headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness and blood in the stool.
All medications for diarrhea or constipation have the disadvantage that they may just replace one problem with another: Medication for diarrhea may cause constipation if its effect is too strong. Similarly, medication for relieving constipation can lead to diarrhea. In people who have alternating diarrhea and constipation, it’s important to make sure that the medications don’t make the symptoms even worse.
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What About Probiotics For Anxiety And Ibs
If the bacteria in your gut can affect your mind and body, does that mean probiotics could be good for IBS? The fact is, researchers have looked into it, but there is no definitive evidence to say if probiotics would be helpful, no matter what kind of IBS you have.
Probiotics are products that contain bacteria and other microorganisms and are marketed as being helpful for digestion, among other health benefits like strengthening your immune system and keeping your heart healthy. Youll see these claims on product labels for probiotic supplements. But some foods like yogurt, tempeh, and kimchi also contain probiotics.
After reviewing 35 clinical studies on probiotics and IBS symptoms, researchers concluded that more data and higher quality studies were needed to support the use of probiotics for IBS, so they cant recommend them yet. Most of the studies were on small groups of people, and while some showed overall symptoms benefits, other studies showed no benefit.
Before you take probiotic supplements, its important to remember that they are not closely regulated by the FDA. This means that their marketing claims could be false and that they may not have been checked for safety. The FDA states that probiotics seem to be safe in healthy people, but we dont have much evidence on how they affect people with health conditions or if they can cause harmful side effects. Some products can also contaminants that may be dangerous. So, always talk to your provider first.
Try Guided Imagery For Pain Relief
Guided imagery is a technique that uses the power of the imagination in seeking to bring about the changes you want within your body. Be aware that there is no research specifically endorsing guided imagery for IBS. However, there is research to show its benefits in dealing with a wide variety of other ailments.
The nice thing about guided imagery is that it is a safe technique to practice. This is something that you can try on your own or with the help of a trained professional.
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What Are The Causes Of Ibs
Researchers dont exactly know what causes IBS. They think a combination of factors can lead to IBS, including:
- Dysmotility: Problems with how your GI muscles contract and move food through the GI tract.
- Visceral hypersensitivity: Extra-sensitive nerves in the GI tract.
- Brain-gut dysfunction: Miscommunication between nerves in the brain and gut.
Easing Bloating And Cramping
IBS can cause bloating or cramps after eating. There are some things you can do which will ease any bloating or cramping you may have. These include:
- eating small but regular meals
- eating oats regularly
- avoiding foods that are hard to digest such as cauliflower and Brussels sprouts
- exercising regularly
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How Is The Pain Experienced
In IBS, some signals in the gut are experienced in some brain regions as pain. After the brain receives pain signals, it can modify the signals to increase or reduce the feeling of pain.
The brains ability to modify sensations is called the gate control theory of pain. Signals that travel from the body to the brain pass through the spinal cord, which can serve as a kind of gate. The brain can open and close this gate, like a volume switch on a stereo. Opening the gate increases the signals that reach the brain and increases the feeling of pain. Closing the gate decreases signals and blocks pain.
This explains how a person can sprain an ankle while running a race and not feel pain until the race is over. Or, how during a bad day at work, a minor discomfort can feel really painful all because the spinal cord acts as a gate to modify how much pain in the brain feels.
Changes To What You Eat And Other Lifestyle Changes
Changes in what you eat may help treat your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend trying one of the following changes:
Research suggests that other lifestyle changes may help IBS symptoms, including
- increasing your physical activity
- reducing stressful life situations as much as possible
- getting enough sleep
Your doctor may recommend medicine to relieve your IBS symptoms.
To treat IBS with diarrhea, your doctor may recommend
- alosetron , which is prescribed only to women and is prescribed with special warnings and precautions
To treat IBS with constipation, your doctor may recommend
- fiber supplements, when increasing fiber in your diet doesnt help
Follow your doctors instructions when you use medicine to treat IBS. Talk with your doctor about possible side effects and what to do if you have them.
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Natural Solutions For Dogs With Anxiety
As much as this drug helps to relieve anxiety and panic attacks, it should not be first line of treatment. Alternative modes of treatment can be used.
This also applies to cases where the dog is either allergic to benzodiazeines, suffers from kidney or liver disease, glaucoma, or muscle weakness. Xanax should also be used on a short term basis as prolonged use can lead to dependence and depression.
Natural remedies for anxiety include:
Follow A Specialized Diet
The right IBS diet approach can substantially alleviate your IBS symptoms and improve your health.
The first step to naturally treating IBS is to avoid foods that trigger your IBS symptoms. 70% of people with IBS stated that certain foods worsen their symptoms.
There are 7 diets available that may reduce IBS symptoms:
A low FODMAP diet will include many of the fruits and vegetables in that list, but its important to keep in mind that quantity matters. You can make a lower-FODMAP food trigger your symptoms if you eat too much of it.
One study in 2021 found that the low FODMAP diet has highly positive effects on symptoms of all subtypes of IBS . The low FODMAP diet has proved to be an effective therapeutic approach for decreasing abdominal symptoms.
These results are supported by other research. A low FODMAP diet considerably reduced the major symptoms of patients with IBS and improved their stool output.
A large study published in 2016 concluded that for those who follow a low-FODMAP diet, the odds of reduced stomach pain and bloating are 81% and 75% higher, respectively.
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Try Meditation Or Deep Breathing Exercises
Though stress is not a cause for IBS, periods of heightened stress can increase your risk for flare-ups and may make your symptoms worse. When youre experiencing IBS flare-ups, it may help to calm your mind and body with some meditation or deep breathing exercises. Pain tends to trigger anxiety, so making an effort to calm yourself down may help ease your pain. You can find meditation guides online as well as videos or recordings to walk you through some deep breathing exercises.
How To Take Cbd For Ibs
CBD has various formats that allow patients to use it for IBS in several ways. These include:
- CBD oils and tinctures CBD may be applied under the tongue for more efficacy. More experienced users prefer this type of administration because they have control over their CBD dosage.
- CBD capsules, gel caps, gummies, or edibles CBD may be mixed with food or beverages. This approach is helpful for those who dislike the grassy taste of CBD.
- CBD vape pens Effects are instantaneous when CBD is inhaled. However, vaping may cause lung damage. IBS patients who also take CBD via vape pens have no way of determining the amount of CBD they take for each draw.
- CBD topicals These CBD formats include salves, balms, lotions, and creams. IBS patients may apply CBD topically during massages to help alleviate abdominal pain. However, it is challenging to apply consistent doses of CBD when an individual uses CBD topicals.
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Try An Otc Supplement
When it comes to quick relief from IBS symptoms, targeted over-the-counter supplements may help. Gas-relieving products are easy to find at your local grocery store or pharmacy, for example. If youre experiencing stomach pain due to trapped gas rather than abdominal cramping, try simethicone, the active ingredient in Gas-X®. If you prefer natural remedies, a few drops of peppermint oil in a cup of tea may reduce muscle spasms and cramping.
Slowly Increase Your Fiber Intake
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Many people with IBS are unnecessarily afraid of fiber. They fear that it will make their symptoms worse. Dietary fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, and grains, is actually essential to keep your digestive system working at its best.
The ACG recommends increasing your intake of soluble but not insoluble fiber.Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water, while insoluble fiber does not. Common sources of soluble fiber include oats, peas, apples, beans, and citrus fruits.
For people with sensitive digestive systems, like those with IBS, it is important to increase fiber intake very slowly so that your colon has time to adjust.
When it comes to fiber, there are two more things to keep in mind. First, beware of bran. Many people with IBS say it irritates their systems. Second, when boosting your fiber intake, it may help to start with low-FODMAP fruits and vegetables, and those high in soluble fiber.
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How Can Ibs Affect You
IBS is one of the most common reasons for a visit to the GP. As many as 1 in 8 people have symptoms of IBS at any one time. Once diagnosed, and given help most people can find effective ways of living with their IBS.
The most common symptoms of IBS are:
- Abdominal pain and abnormal bowel habits
- Wind, bloating and distension
- One third of IBS patients suffer from bouts of constipation. One third of IBS patients suffer from bouts of diarrhoea, others dont fall into a single pattern.
- Other symptoms include feeling tired, feeling sick, backache and bladder symptoms.
Can The Chronic Pain State Be Reversed
With proper treatment, chronic pain can be reduced or stopped. Different approaches include medication, psychological approaches, and self-management. Using more than one therapy may work better than using just one method alone. For example, combining psychological approaches with medication is often effective. When treating chronic pain, it is important to be patient. Treatments often take time before they start wo
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What Are The Treatments For Ibs
There is no cure for IBS, but there are treatments that can make a big difference. Talk to your doctor about what might be best for you. Treatment options include:
- following a low-FODMAP diet
- having cognitive behavioural therapy.
Research suggests that 3 in 4 people with IBS get symptom relief, usually within 14 weeks, from following a low-FODMAP diet, and that these positive effects can continue long term. Its best if you can see a dietitian experienced in this diet to help support you make the changes needed. Read more about the low-FODMAP diet and common foods containing FODMAPs. There is also an app developed by Monsash University to help you follow this diet.
Researchers have also found that reducing your stress can help to ease your symptoms. Read more about stress and how to manage it.
There is also evidence that being more active can help reduce your IBS symptoms. This may be because it helps digested food move through your gut, reducing gas and bloating. Read more about the benefits of physical activity.
Medications are sometimes recommended to help treat IBS symptoms. Some examples include:
- laxatives for relief of constipation
- anti-diarrheal medications to relieve chronic diarrhoea
- anti-spasmodic medications to assist in relieving abdominal pain and cramps
- antidepressant medication to help with pain.
Read more about medicines for IBS.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy