Treatments for irritable bowel syndrome include dietary changes, such as eliminating gluten from the diet, fiber supplements, anti-diarrhea medications, antibiotics and medications such as lotronex that relax the colon, explains Mayo Clinic. IBS treatments focus on alleviating symptoms since the causes of the disease are unknown, as of 2015.
Many patients can manage mild symptoms of IBS by making diet and lifestyle changes, explains Mayo Clinic. Getting enough exercise, drinking plenty of water and eliminating high-gas foods, such as carbonated beverages and vegetables, from the diet is often beneficial. Some patients with IBS find that their diarrhea subsides after they eliminate gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye, from their diets.
A wide array of medications can be used to control more severe IBS symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients who experience constipation often find relief when taking fiber supplements, while anti-diarrhea medications such as loperamide help control loose stools. Some patients experience depression as a symptom of IBS, and this is typically treated with tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors or therapy. For IBS patients who have an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines, taking an antibiotic such as rifaximin may ease diarrhea. A medication called lubiprostone increases fluid secretion in the small intestine and may be useful for women who have IBS with constipation.