Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Conservative treatment of mild IBS involves changing the person's diet and alleviating stress. For some, but not all patients, a high- fiber , low fat diet is recommended. Fat strongly stimulates contractions of the colon and fiber keeps the colon mildly distended, which may help prevent spasms. Foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, beans, fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber. Some doctors may suggest using an over-the-counter fiber supplement. Use of fiber is most important for patients with predominantly constipation as their main complaint. Fiber may not be as useful for patients with predominantly bloating or diarrhea. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine are also important in controlling diarrhea in IBS. Recommended lifestyle changes consist of regular exercise, alleviating stress, getting a good night's sleep, reserving enough time to have a bowel movement and having a bowel movement when needed. For moderate to severe IBS, the doctor may recommend a pharmaceutical approach to ease the symptoms of IBS. Cramping and pain may be relieved by an antispasmodic medicine such as hyoscyamine (Anaspaz, Cystospaz, Levsin) or dicyclomine (Bemote, Bentyl, Di-Spaz). For diarrhea, the doctor may recommend loperamide (Imodium) or cholestyramine (Questran) and for constipation, osmotic laxatives such as lactulose (Chronulac, Kristalose) or sorbitol are helpful. A newer medication approved only for constipation-predominant IBS is tegaserod (Zelnorm). Its action involves stimulating the colon to contract to promote regular bowel movements and reduce bloating. visit us