For irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) sufferers, there is no known cure for the condition, but there are treatments to help alleviate the issues it can cause. You can successfully manage the symptoms of IBS and live a normal life without having to be in a constant state of embarrassment.
Treatments for IBS usually involve highly individualized approaches. What your gastroenterologist recommends for you will typically depend on several factors, including your overall health and the severity of your symptoms.
How Is IBS Treated?
You can help your doctor determine the most suitable approach for you by giving them a detailed account of your health, such as your diet, when IBS symptoms occur, and how frequently they occur. IBS can cause great physical and social discomfort and anxiety. There can be an increased risk of dehydration, malnutrition, and depression with IBS.
The most effective treatments for IBS are pharmacologic, dietary, and lifestyle-based:
All of the symptoms that can accompany IBS – such as pain, bloating, and diarrhea – usually have triggers, and they are most often dietary. For this reason, IBS treatment includes making certain dietary changes to improve your condition.
Each person can have their own triggers, which is why treatment for IBS is highly individualized. Some IBS triggers include gluten-containing foods, dairy products, fast food, and rich and fatty foods.
Vegetables can also trigger IBS in many patients, such as broccoli and cauliflower. Any foods that can make you gassy should be avoided.
There is a diet for IBS called the FODMAP diet, which translates to: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are carbohydrates and sugars that aren’t well-absorbed by the body of someone with IBS, so sufferers respond to this diet very well. It usually involves a trial period to find out if it benefits you and whether it reduces your IBS symptoms.
With so many foods that can trigger IBS, you could be at risk of nutritional deficiencies. This is why it also helps to work with a nutritionist to ensure that you are not lacking in the nutrients necessary to be healthy.
IBS treatment also involves the use of medication. Your doctor may recommend the following:
- Fiber supplements or laxatives to help with constipation
- Muscle relaxants to prevent cramping
- Pain medication to relieve abdominal pain
- Antidiarrheal medication to improve stool consistency and minimize the frequency
- Antibiotics to address gut flora issues that may be causing poor digestion of carbohydrates
- Anticholinergic medications to relieve bowel spasms
- Tricyclic and SSRI antidepressants to reduce gut reactiveness to food and stress
Treatment plans for IBS also often involve making lifestyle changes. For instance, alcohol and smoking are best reduced or completely eliminated.
Another contributing factor to the development of IBS is stress. For this reason, stress-reduction therapies are highly encouraged by doctors treating IBS.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio
If you are experiencing symptoms of IBS, have our compassionate board-certified gastroenterologists at North Shore Gastroenterology evaluate your symptoms and put you on the path to treatment that works for you. Our goal is to make sure your life is not impacted by your IBS symptoms.
We diagnose and treat all types of digestive disorders. To schedule a consultation, contact our team at North Shore Gastroenterology today by calling us at (440) 808-1212 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to helping you feel much better.