Essential Information About Doctors' IBS Cures

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic, relapsing disorder – that is, it has good periods and bad periods.

Doctors don’t know what causes it and, because everyone with IBS has different symptoms at different times, there is no cure. However some IBS remedies may work well for some people. The key is getting to know your IBS so that you know what works for you.

The symptoms of IBS are HERE but it’s important to talk to your doctor so that any other bowel or abdominal disorder can be ruled out.

The doctor may prescribe antispasmodics such as mebeverine (Colofac, Colofac MR), which are designed to help the bowel relax and therefore reduce the feeling of tension, the bloating and pain in the tummy. They help to make the muscle of the bowel work smoothly and in a coordinated way.

Peppermint oil (Colpermin, Mintec) taken 30 minutes before a meal can also help with the spasm and bloating.

Tricyclic antidepressants (imipramine (Tofranil), amitriptyline, doxepin, mianserin, trazodone, lofepramine) can be useful if you feel your symptoms have a stress-related or psychological component. Many IBS suffers describe their gut as being a ‘second brain’ and that if their gut is happy, they are happy, but if they become stressed their gut also gets stressed and this leads to the bloating and pain.

Bulk-forming agents (Isogel, Citrucel) help with constipation. Over use of laxatives will make the problem worse in the long term as the bowel becomes ‘lazy’ and doesn’t work properly.

Loperamide (Diareze, Imodium, Norimode) helps diarrhoea symptoms.

Hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be a good long term strategy as it helps you to take control of your stress or emotional reactions and therefore relax the gut if your symptoms are stress-related. Your doctor may be able to help you find a practitioner.

Your doctor or nutritionist may also advise you to follow an exclusion diet and to keep a food diary. Common foods that you’re advised to avoid are:

Wheat flour, dairy, tea, coffee, citrus, fruit, nuts, chocolate, food colouring and additives.

Keep a diary of your food and fluid intake, your emotional state and stressors and the symptoms you experience. Exclude the foods listed above for 4-6 weeks and see how you feel before gradually re-introducing them into your diet, so that you can see what might be upsetting your gut.

This can be a big undertaking but those who follow it find the process quite revealing and usually end up feeling much better when they are knowingly eating for their gut health.

Other natural IBS remedies are discussed HERE.

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