Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (cont.)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) definition and facts
- What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- What are IBS-D (IBS with diarrhea) and IBS-C (IBS with constipation)?
- Are IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and IBD (inflammatory bowel syndrome) the same disease?
- What are the causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- Is there a test for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- What are the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- Which specialties of doctors treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- What is the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome?
- What medications treat diarrhea (IBS-D) and constipation (IBS-D) in irritable bowel syndrome?
- What medications treat pain and cramping in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- What other medication may help signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- Is there an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diet (foods to avoid, foods to eat)?
- What is a low FODMAP diet?
- What natural and home remedies or other lifestyle changes may help IBS symptoms and signs?
- Is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) related to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)?
- What are potential complications of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- Is it possible to prevent irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- What is the prognosis for a person with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- IBS FAQs
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
What is the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome?
Dietary modifications are the first treatments that should be tried to treat IBS. There are several types of foods in particular that often trigger characteristic symptoms and signs.
If dietary modifications and lifestyle changes do not adequately treat the symptoms and signs, a doctor may recommend medical therapies.
What medications treat diarrhea (IBS-D) and constipation (IBS-D) in irritable bowel syndrome?
Medicine for diarrhea
- Antidiarrheal medications such as loperamide (Imodium), attapulgite (Kaopectate), and diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil) can be helpful if loose stools are one of the main signs. Eluxadoline (Viberzi) is a prescription for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).
- For females with IBS who experience severe diarrhea, alosetron (Lotronex) has been used.
- Rifaximin (Xifaxan) is an antibiotic for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) and IBS-related bloating.
- Bile acid binders including cholestyramine ( (Prevalite), colestipol (Colestid), or colesevelam (Welchol) can help some patients with IBS-D, but can also cause bloating.
Medicine for constipation medication
- Over-the-counter laxatives such as polyethylene glycol 3350 ( (MiraLax), bisacodyl (Dulcolax), and psyllium seed husks (Metamucil) can help relieve constipation and keep bowel movements regular. Senna laxatives (Senokot, Ex-Lax Gentle Nature) may be taken short-term. Prescription laxatives such as lactulose (Constulose) may also be prescribed.
- Two drugs specifically used to treat IBS are lubiprostone (Amitiza), a laxative, and linaclotide (Linzess), a constipation medication.
- SSRI antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and escitalopram (Lexapro) may be helpful for those with constipation (IBS-C), but they can trigger IBS attacks in patients with diarrhea (IBS-D).
What medications treat pain and cramping in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- Antispasmodics, such as metoclopramide (Reglan), dicyclomine (Bentyl), and hyoscyamine (Levsin), decrease symptoms of pain and cramping.
- Antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Paregoric), doxepin ( (Silenor), desipramine (Norpramin), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and imipramine (Tofranil) may help with abdominal pain but due to side effects are usually reserved for severe cases.
Learn more about: Paregoric
What other medication may help signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
- Antidepressants in low doses, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may help relieve symptoms associated with IBS.
- Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia).
- Antibiotics may be used when small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is suspected.
- Antianxiety medications such as diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and clonazepam (Klonopin) are occasionally prescribed short-term for people whose anxiety worsens their irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
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