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All about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes of irritable bowel syndrome risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome irritable bowel syndrome symptoms diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome treatment for irritable bowel syndrome irritable bowel syndrome diet medications to cure irritable bowel syndrome stress management for irritable bowel syndrome

What's the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome?

Dietary changes, sometimes supplemented by drugs or psychotherapy, are considered the key to successful treatment. The most important therapeutic measure is reassuring the patient that he has no fatal or otherwise threatening disease, as this is the major concern of patients seeking medical help. Dependent on symptoms, treatment can consist of dietary advice,

stool softeners and laxatives in obstipation-predominant, and antidiarrheals (loperamide) in diarrhea-predominant IBS. The use of antispasmodic drugs is not encouraged as the therapeutic benefit over placebo is hardly proven. Newer drugs include Alosetron and Tegaserod, both of which are heavily advertised but have only a limited effect. Psychotherapy is another treatment option, however many patients refuse to undertake one. Though not specifically indicated for IBS, the use of antidepressive drugs (e.g. amitriptyline in a low dosage or SSRI) to treat the symptoms is common and has positive effects for some patients.

A common treatment for IBS is the addition of fiber to the diet. This theoretically expands the inside of the digestive tract, reducing the chance it will spasm as it transmits and digests food. Fiber also promotes regular bowel movements, which helps reduce constipation. Fiber should be added gradually, because it may initially worsen bloating and gassiness. Stress may cause IBS "flares." Doctors may offer specific advice on reducing stress. Regularly eating balanced meals and exercising may help reduce stress and problems associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Subjective symptoms are particularly prone to responding to placebos (inactive drugs, or sugar pills). In fact, in most studies, 20 to 40% of patients with IBS will improve if they receive inactive drugs. Now, all clinical trials of drugs for IBS require a placebo-treated group for comparison with the drug-treated group. So, the placebo response means that these clinical trials must utilize large numbers of patients to detect meaningful (significant) differences in improvement between the placebo and drug groups. Therefore, such trials are expensive to conduct. Smoking may worsen symptoms of IBS, which gives smokers another good reason to quit. Since many patients with irritable bowel syndrome report food intolerances, a food diary may help identify foods that seem to make IBS worse.

More information on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a intestinal condition characterized by abdominal pain and cramps, changes in bowel movements, gassiness, bloating, nausea, and other symptoms.
What causes irritable bowel syndrome? - An abnormality in digestion and propulsion process cause irritable bowel syndrome. Nerve-signalling chemicals, particularly serotonin, and stress appear to have an important role.
What're the risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome? - Stress stimulates colonic spasm in people with IBS. Female reproductive hormones are another trigger of irritable bowel syndrome.
What are the symptoms of IBS? - Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal pain or discomfort associated with changes in bowel habits in the absence of any structural abnormality.
How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed? - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is diagnosed with colonoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), abdominal ultrasound, blood tests.
What's the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome? - Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome can consist of dietary advice, stool softeners and laxatives in obstipation-predominant, and antidiarrheals (loperamide) in diarrhea-predominant IBS.
What irritable bowel syndrome diet is suggested? - Fiber supplementation may improve symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Avoid food or beverages that make the symptoms worse.
What medications cure irritable bowel syndrome? - Antispasmodic medicines are used to treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Antidiarrheal medications are used when diarrhea is a major feature of IBS.
Stress management for irritable bowel syndrome - Situations such as family problems, work stress, exams, etc, may trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in some people. 
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