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What are the treatment options for irritable bowel syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Treatment options for irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, include home treatments, medications, complimentary treatments such as acupuncture and Ayurvedic medicine and psychological treatment. These options vary depending on the symptoms and severity of the disorder, according to WebMD.

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What are the treatment options for irritable bowel syndrome?
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Full Answer

Irritable bowel syndrome, an intestinal disorder, causes bloating and cramping, abdominal pain, and constipation or diarrhea. Some patients alternate between having diarrhea and constipation, while in most people, one occurs more than the other. While it is a long-term condition, IBS does not worsen with time or cause more serious diseases. The causes of IBS are uncertain, but problems with the signals sent between the brain and the digestive system may be involved.

Home treatments for IBS include changes in diet such as increasing the amount of fiber, getting more exercise and managing stress.

Medications are often used along with home treatments. The medicines used vary depending on the symptoms. For diarrhea, medications include atropine, diphenoxylate, cholestyramine, rifaximin and alosetron. Constipation medicines include osmotic laxatives, polyethylene glycol, stimulant laxatives, linaclotide and lubiprostone. For cramping and pain, antispasmodics such as dicyclomine may be prescribed. If depression or anxiety are caused by IBS, antidepressants such as fluoxetine may be used, as well as anti-anxiety medicines like diazepam states WebMD.

Psychological treatments, including psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and hypnosis, have been known to help lessen the symptoms of IBS. Some alternative treatments of IBS include herbal therapies such as Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, peppermint oil, aloe, ginger and probiotics.

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