The condition of IBS is very common among individuals with the condition of fibromyalgia. There are three types of irritable bowel syndrome: IBS-A (irritable bowel syndrome- alternating diarrhea and constipation); IBS-D (irritable bowel syndrome- diarrhea); and IBS-C (irritable bowel syndrome- constipation).
Individuals who suffer from IBS with constipation report that they are typically able to find relief using a combination of different therapies.
Your physician will likely recommend that you make changes in your diet, exercise more, learn ways that you can manage your stress, and even medications.
In addition, some physicians may recommend some of the behavioral therapies such as hypnosis, relaxation, or biofeedback.
The truth is that, while the primary goal of treating IBS is to ease bowel problems- but also is meant to soothe other things such as bloating, pain, and stomach cramps that come with this condition.
Regardless of the treatment you choose for handling your condition, there is one thing you must remember: never follow any treatment plan without speaking with your physician.
There are some health risks that are associated with taking supplements and laxatives on a regular basis to ease constipation related to the condition of IBS.
You must consult with your physician regarding safety and what is best for you.
Following are some of the common treatments for the condition of IBS that you and your physician may consider using:
1) Treating IBS with Dietary Changes
In many cases, individuals are able to manage their signs and symptoms of IBS with dietary changes. Fiber will reduce the problem of constipation by making the stool softer and easier to pass.
However, very few people actually come anywhere close to consuming the minimum of 20 grams of fiber per day that is recommended for healthy adults.
If you are suffering from the condition of IBS-C, you should slowly introduce more fiber into your diet. Good sources of fiber include: fruits, veggies, beans, and whole-grain cereals and breads.
In addition, ground flaxseed, water, dried plums, and prune juice are effective for loosening bowels- but make sure you don’t consume too much or you’ll go on the opposite extreme.
Avoid things like coffee, alcohol, and carbonated drinks as they can cause the passage of stools to slow down. Refined foods such as white rice, cookies, and chips are just as bad for you.
Of course, you must keep in mind that different foods will affect everyone with the condition of IBS differently.
In some cases, eating too much fiber can cause diarrhea. Therefore, if you have this condition, its best to keep a food journal to figure out what your triggers are.
Simply take a moment to write down your signs and symptoms as well as what you ate and how much just before the symptoms occurred.
2) Treating IBS with Fiber Supplements
On the other hand, some people use fiber supplements to be sure they get the fiber they need and treat their IBS-C. These supplements include:
1) Corn fiber
3) Wheat bran
4) Calcium polycarbophil
While it is true that fiber supplements can serve to decrease constipation, they do not seem to be effective for treating other symptoms such as swelling, discomfort, and stomachaches. In fact, the truth is that extra fiber may actually worsen these other signs and symptoms.
3) Treating IBS with Laxatives
Many individuals with the condition of IBS-C will use laxatives to help them go to the bathroom, but these only offer very limited relief and can actually do more harm than good if they are taken on a regular basis.
Laxatives are perfectly fine for occasional occurrences of constipation, but they do not treat the other symptoms of IBS such as bloating, pain, and stomachaches. Plus, there are some laxatives that can be habit-forming and cause long-term complications.
There are a couple of different types of laxatives: stimulant and non-stimulant. The stimulant laxatives have an ingredient known as senna, which triggers the bowel muscles to contract.
Over time, senna can cause damage to the nerves in the wall of the colon. If taken on a regular basis, these will become ineffective.
On the other hand, the other laxatives are referred to as osmotic laxatives and work by pulling water into your colon go soften the stool- making it easy to pass.
However, just as with other laxatives, these don’t really help with the other signs and symptoms of IBS. In fact, it could cause these other symptoms to become worse.
The non-stimulant laxatives seem to be fairly safe for long term use. The stimulant laxatives could cause long-term complications. You can get laxatives OTC or by prescriptions.
The OTC ones are fine for short-term, but if you feel like you must have them to stay normal, you want to make sure that you have been given the right diagnosis.
4) Treating IBS with Antidepressants
Your physician may prescribe you a low dose antidepressant to treat your IBS symptoms. However, keep in mind that this does not mean that you are depressed. An antidepressant works by blocking the brain’s perception of pain in your gut.
You probably already know, but there are several different types of antidepressants and your physician may select one over another depending upon which type of IBS you are suffering from.
For individuals who are suffering with IBS-C, your physician will be more likely to prescribe a low dose SSRI. Typically, these do not cause constipation, but do have side effects such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, and nausea.
On the other hand, the older antidepressants, or tricyclic antidepressants, typically cause constipation and physicians will prescribe them for individuals suffering from IBS-D. Some of the other side effects include blurry vision, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
5) Treating IBS with Antispasmodics
In many cases, medications known as antispasmodics are effective for relieving the stomach cramps caused by the condition of IBS because they relax the smooth muscle of your gut.
However, since they may cause constipation, they are typically not given to those who suffer from IBS-C. Some of the other side effects of this condition include: blurry vision, dryness, and drowsiness.
6) Treating IBS with Stress Management
Many experts believe that stress causes IBS to flare up and learning how to manage your stress levels can help to reduce your tension and/or worry can help to manage your symptoms.