What are the treatment options for irritable bowel syndrome?

Dietary changes
  • Eliminating high-gas foods and caffeine to reduce bloating or the passing of considerable amounts of gas.
  • Eliminating gluten may help reduce diarrhea symptoms in IBS.
  • Eliminating FODMAPs carbohydrates such as fructose and lactose. 
  • Fiber supplements may help control constipation. 
  • Anti-diarrheal medications. Over-the-counter medications can help control diarrhea.
  • Anticholinergic and antispasmodic medications. These medications can help relieve painful bowel spasms. 
  • Antidepressant medications help relieve depression as well as inhibit the activity of neurons that control the intestines.
  • Antibiotics. Some people whose symptoms are due to an overgrowth of bacteria in their intestines may benefit from antibiotic treatment. 
  • Laxatives: For those who have constipation as the predominant symptom.
Managing stress can help reduce cramping and pain. Some options for managing stress include:
  • Getting counseling and support
  • Taking part in regular exercise such as walking or yoga
  • Reducing stressful life situations as much as possible
  • Getting enough sleep
Talk therapy may reduce stress and improve symptoms of IBS. 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on your thoughts and actions
  • Psychodynamic therapy focuses on how your emotions affect IBS symptoms.
Hypnotherapy involves hypnosis to help relax the muscles in the colon.
Mindfulness training can teach you to focus your attention on sensations occurring at the moment and to avoid worrying about the meaning of those sensations.
Alternative therapies
  • Probiotics have been shown to help manage symptoms of IBS.
  • Therapeutic massage to help reduce anxiety and relieve stress.
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) treatment

  • "Irritable Bowel Syndrome." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 31 July 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
  • "Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)." National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
  • "Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment." Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.


From Our Blog: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
As with many forms of psychotherapy, it takes time and effort to enjoy the benefits of DBT and CBT skills. But once people master skills with support from their CBT or DBT therapist, they often find their new skills and strategies become second nature- they are tools that last a lifetime! Check out this infographic for an overview of the differences between CBT and DBT:
cognitive behavioral therapy vs. dialectical behavior therapy infographic


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