Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment

How can I ease the pain of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

A Answers (2)

  • ADr. Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    If your gut twists and turns like an amusement park ride, you need to throttle down. And one of the best ways to do that is to eat foods that help calm the entire digestive process. If you're suffering from IBS, eliminate foods that are high in fat or fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, and gum (swallowing air makes matters worse). Instead, sub in foods that are high in fiber, and don't forget to add loads of water.
    Many people with the diagnosis of spastic colon actually have difficulty digesting milk (lactose intolerance) or sugar. There are some ways to test for the problem, but it is easier to simply avoid all milk and sugar (especially sodas) for a week and see if the symptoms go away.
    The worst thing you can do to an angry bowel is to make it angrier. So your job is to make the little fella as happy as can be. One way: Eat slowly and regularly - - to avoid the roller coaster highs and lows that come from overeating and starving. You can also identify eating issues (as well as trigger foods) by keeping an eating diary that allows you to pinpoint the patterns that make you feel better or worse.
    Peppermint doesn't just come in handy to only neutralize a garlicky meal. It also helps calm the digestive system by relaxing the smooth muscles in the intestines.
    Probiotics are probably your best allies in fighting IBS. The best (in spore form so the stomach doesn't destroy them) come in small capsules at less than $10 a month. I like Digestive Aide and Sustenex, which decrease IBS symptoms (some believe that one of the causes of the condition is a lack of good bacteria in the intestines). Also, decrease inflammation and strengthen your team of fighters. Much data support the use of omega-3 fatty acids (2 gram a day of fish oils or 400 mg milligrams of algal DHA for women, 600 milligramsg for men) and vitamin D3 (1200 to 2000 IU a day) in IBS.

  • ADr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson, Internal Medicine, answered
    If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with abdominal pain, a heating pad may ease abdominal pain, and caffeine-free herbal tea such as chamomile can be soothing. Some people have found that peppermint oil helps reduce spasms. However, people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, should avoid peppermint oil, because it can make reflux symptoms worse. Antispasmodics -- including dicyclomine (Bentyl) and hyoscyamine (Anaspaz, Cystospaz, Levsin, others) -- may help relieve pain by reducing bowel spasms. Low doses of tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may alleviate abdominal pain and relieve other symptoms as well.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Did You See?  Close
How is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) treated?