Treatment of IBS

Treatment of IBS


Most plans for the treatment of IBS is being drawn and administered by the family doctors.

It is helpful to explain to the patient that IBS is a recognised entity. The pain is real. IBS is a physical disorder. It is a disorder that interferes with the functions of bowel through brain – gut interaction.

A supportive relationship with the doctor helps most patients to regain confidence and contibutes to a successful treatment of this illness.

Listening to patient’s fears and believe is an important component in this confidence building.

Some patients have wondered the relationship between IBS and their reduced or actually ruined sexual life. The doctor must explain to these patients that even though the direct relationship between IBS and sexuality is not very clear, over 45% of women suffering from irritable bowel syndrome also share this experience.

Keeping a diary of symptoms for a month or so is helpful, as this will help in understanding the pattern of the illness as it pertains to the patient. Specific treatment plan includes:


This is an important component of treatment. Many patients from experience have been able to identify food substances or components that are not compatible with their system. In manipulating the diet in treatment of ibs, patients should be careful not to tilt the balance adversely to any of the extremes.

Fibre rich food! helps in reducing constipation, by easing the passage of stool down the gut. About 30 grams of fibre in the meal daily would help in this regard.

Excessive milk in the diet, greater than half a pint could produce symptoms in many individuals. Reducing milk intake below this level may be useful in some.

Carbonated drinks, coffee, died fruits, beans and peas could all cause an increase in gas production in the tummy, thus leading to increased bloating and flatulence.

Different persons respond to different dietary control. Where there doesn’t seem to be any improvement, perhaps a dieticians guidance and supervision may be sought. In severe sufferers of IBS, they have even used bulking agents to help in improving the speed of movement of food down the gut. Agents used include:


Wheat bran


You can see a selection of medications used in the treatment of ibs here . Just go to the indigestion section under medications.


Even though medications should not be the first line of treatment, some have gained some reasonable initial benefit by using them. Medications used include:


These medications reduce the tone of contraction of the intestinal muscles which results in pain. They are mainly anticholinergic medications. Examples are:






These help in treating associated anxiety or depressive symptoms. Constipation is an unwelcome side effect of this group of medicines Examples are:

Amitryptylline (Elavil)

Imipramine (Tofranil)

Nortriptylline (Pamelor)

5-HT receptor antagonist / agonist

Their role in the treatment of ibs is still not understood. They have been used however with some success. Alosetron and Tegaserod ate widely used in the United States specifically for IBS. They are both not recommended for use in males.


Loperamide (limotil) help in decreasing intestinal transit time in those whose problem is more of diarrhoea. This drug is very useful in those who frequently have to use the toilet when they go out. They can take a tablet of loperamide before going out. This will help to reduce, if not stop the likelihood of their needing to use the toilet outside.

codeine has been reported to be effective in functional diarrhoea, but could become sedative and lead to dependence as well.

With available wide ranging support, the pain and distress of irritable bowel syndrome should be well under control.

If you feel like speaking to a G.P now, you can have a confidential phone discussion with a G.P now.

There are also lots of self help manuals available for download online on ibs. You can Download an IBS self Help Manual here



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