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IBS treatment strategies

IBS Treatment Strategies

IBS treatment makes up a significant component of many gastroenterologists’ areas of care. According to the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, approximately 1 in 5 individuals experience the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome at some point. The condition causes abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in a patient’s bowel movements.

For those diagnosed with IBS, immediate treatment and long-term lifestyle changes may be required for relief from symptoms. This post examines the medication and lifestyle modifications that may be recommended for this condition.

Patients are required to consult experienced gastroenterology specialists before any changes to their medication, diet or lifestyle are made.

Dietary changes

The following dietary changes are a few of the most common strategies to alleviate the symptoms of IBS. If individuals are already on special diets, guidance is crucial before any changes are made.

  • Increase the intake of dietary fibre

Patients may be asked to increase the quantity of fibre in their diets by including food items such as fruits, grains, vegetables, and nuts.

  • Eliminate gas-producing food items

As a part of IBS treatment, individuals may be required to cut back on gas-producing food including beans and legumes and certain vegetables like cabbage.

  • Eliminate dairy

If patients who suffer from IBS are also lactose intolerant, dairy must be cut down to prevent the onset of pain and discomfort.

  • A low-FODMAP diet

FODMAP is a group of carbohydrates that are believed to cause symptoms of IBS. Depending on the symptoms presented by individuals, doctors may recommend a low-FODMAP diet as a part of IBS treatment.

Medication for IBS

  • Antidiarrhoea medication

Certain medication like Immodium or Lomotil may be prescribed as a way of controlling one of the most prominent symptoms of IBS for certain patients; diarrhoea.

  • Medicine for pain relief

IBS treatment may also include pain-relief drugs, including opiates such as codeine. This may even clear up the diarrhoea associated with certain cases of this condition.

  • Antispasmodic drugs

Cramping is a common symptom of IBS. To ease the pain caused by this, mebeverine, hyoscine, and peppermint oil capsules could potentially be prescribed.

  • Antidepressants

In certain cases, patients could be prescribed tricyclic antidepressants to treat the symptoms of IBS. This is undertaken for a trial period, where symptoms of this condition are monitored.

Lifestyle changes

Stress management

Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by stress. As such, patients will be asked to try and manage their stress more effectively to prevent pain and discomfort. Some of the recommended stress management techniques include:

  • Yoga

A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine discovered that a one-hour yoga class undertaken thrice a week for 12 weeks reduced the symptoms of IBS in those with this condition. It was found that the combination of yoga postures and breathing exercises alleviated the stress and anxiety that triggers IBS symptoms.

  • Meditation

Meditation is known to help individuals relax and release stress from their bodies. To prevent stress from causing IBS symptoms within patients, meditation may be recommended as a part of stress management strategies.

​Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

For patients who can’t manage their stress effectively, counselling in the form of CBT may prove to be effective. The goal of this type of therapy is to help individuals become more aware of themselves and their thoughts, allowing them to moderate their reactions to otherwise stressful life events.

A study in a publication titled ‘Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology’ found that 4 weeks of CBT reduced the severity of IBS symptoms.

Receiving expert IBS treatment is necessary for long-term pain relief

IBS treatment is necessary for long-term relief from the symptoms of this condition. Under the guidance of experienced gastroenterology specialists, who have a specialised understanding of this condition, patients can prevent abdominal pain and discomfort.

For more information and guidance on IBS treatment, patients can consult the team of experienced gastroenterology specialists at the Sydney Gut Clinic.