IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition which arises due to a collection of symptoms that develop in the intestines. The collection of symptoms develops and flares together causing significant discomfort to the affected individual. The intensity, duration, and severity of the symptoms are variable and differ significantly from person to person depending on the age and overall health status of the patient. In majority of the cases, however, these symptoms flare for about a couple of days every month for a period of a few months.
There have been some cases where IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes some sort of damage to the intestines. IBS is quite a common condition but it can impair the quality of life of an individual. It may result in increased number of missed days from work or school.
In some cases the pain and discomfort caused by IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome may be so severe that the patient finds it difficult to even carry out basic activities of daily living. People with this condition have periods of constipation alternating with diarrhea which makes the picture even worse. Gas and bloating is yet another symptom which causes significant discomfort in people with irritable bowel syndrome even though it improves to some degree after passing a bowel movement but recurs again after some time.
It is estimated that around 20% of people in the United States have IBS at some point in their life. Studies also reveal that it is seen more in females than in males. This article is about different ways to fix IBS.
How to Fix IBS?
Identifying the cause of IBS is extremely important in order to fix it. There are a variety of medications that can be used for treating the symptoms of IBS. However, the type of medication to be given depends on the cause of IBS. The common cause of irritable bowel syndrome is lifestyle habits and stress. Controlling these two factors is quite effective in controlling the symptoms of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The best way to fix IBS is to avoid food products that trigger the symptoms. Additionally, add foods that are rich in fiber to the diet. Being hydrated is essential when treating irritable bowel syndrome as frequent loose stools leads to extensive loss of fluids from the body causing dehydration. Exercising regularly results in the production of endorphins which help in coping with any stress. It also promotes restful sleep which is essential when trying to fix IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
The food products that should be avoided in order to get rid of irritable bowel syndrome are foods that tend to cause gas and bloating. This is because such foods worsen the symptoms. Soft drinks, alcohol, cabbage, cauliflower are some food and beverages that need to be avoided in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Gluten is also something that should avoided in people with irritable bowel syndrome. In fact some studies suggest that a gluten free diet has improved the symptoms of this condition. These lifestyle changes are good enough to treat mild symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
For moderate symptoms of IBS, taking fiber supplements like metamucil controls the constipation caused by this condition. Milk of Magnesia can also be quite effective for constipation. For diarrhea, medications like Imodium and Colestid which are available over the counter controls the symptoms of IBS.
Diarrhea that occurs with irritable bowel syndrome results in bowel spasms. This can be controlled by medications mostly Bentyl which controls the pain and spasms. When stress is the reason for the symptoms, then SSRIs or antidepressants are given to the patient for a specific period of time to cope with the stress and decrease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The medication of choice for this is Pamelor and nortriptyline. However, these medications cause drowsiness as a side effect and hence should be taken with caution and only as directed by the physician.
The preferred SSRIs to treat IBS is Prozac and Paxil which gets rid of the depression and controls stress which ultimately relieves the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. To control the pain caused by this condition, Neurontin or Lyrica are quite effective.
Apart from the treatments mentioned, there is also further research that is going on to find out more effective medications to fix irritable bowel syndrome. Serum derives bovine immunoglobulin which is a nutritional therapy has shown good effectiveness on experimental studies for controlling the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Investigations are also on for a medication which releases peppermint oil in the small intestine to control diarrhea, constipation, and bloating caused by IBS. However, both of these medications are in the experimental phase and have not been tested on any patients with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome as of yet.
In summary, IBS causes significant pain along with various intestinal symptoms which can severely affect the life of an individual. It is a common cause for missed days at school or work. There is no known cause for this condition but certain factors like stress and lifestyle habits that contribute in aggravating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
While there are various medications available to fix IBS, it totally depends on the cause as to which form of treatment will be beneficial in getting rid of IBS. However, making lifestyle changes, eating the right diet, and coping with stress efficiently can help a lot in controlling the symptoms of IBS.
- Mayo Clinic – Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016
- American College of Gastroenterology – IBS Overview: https://gi.org/topics/irritable-bowel-syndrome/
- Johns Hopkins Medicine – Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs