Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Research Digestive Disorders

These disorders typically respond well to treatment, and if left untreated can make IBS symptoms worse. Treatment options include psychotherapy or counseling and medications, such as antidepressants. One form of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, has shown promise for patients with moderate to severe IBS and for those with IBS and anxiety or mood disorders. CBT can help patients learn coping strategies to control the symptoms brought on by anxiety. Patients work with a therapist to modify their thinking about stressful situations and their perceptions about their gastrointestinal symptoms. As patients’ cognitive appraisal of their reality changes, their bowel symptoms often improve. Other stress management options include: Relaxation training, such as meditation, guided imagery, or biofeedback Regular exercise, including walking or yoga Breathing techniques Getting enough sleep on a regular schedule A diary may help you recognize stressors that activate symptoms. The diary should include the symptom experienced and its severity; associated factors such as diet, activity, or stress; emotional response (feelings of anger, sadness, helplessness); and thoughts associated with the incident. A record of stressors and associated responses may help you figure out positive ways to better deal with the stressors. Diet Eating causes rhythmic contractions of the colon. Normally, this may cause a person to have a bowel movement 30 to 60 minutes after a meal. In a person with IBS, the urge to defecate may come sooner and may be accompanied by pain, cramps, and diarrhea. Many people say their IBS symptoms are triggered by eating certain foods.


Medications to Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 10 to 15 percent of the population is affected by IBS, and less than one-third of people seek care for their symptoms. Dr. Baharak Moshiree, director of the motility program at the University of Miami, says treating IBS can be very challenging because every patient has a different experience with the disorder. Although the cause of IBS is currently unknown, several factors have been said to aggravate symptoms: stress, anxiety, dairy products, legumes such as beans, and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Which came first the chicken or the egg is kind of hard to figure out, she said. What was happening before the symptoms occurred? You want to find out what factors were there before patients started having these symptoms, or if they started having these symptoms and then when they get stressed or anxious, everything gets worse. Unfortunately, the gut does its own thing. Although IBS is uncomfortable, can greatly affect patients quality of life and currently has no cure, people do not die from the disorder. There are several medications available to help relieve pain, diarrhea and constipation that can be purchased over the counter or prescribed. Moshiree also says that counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis can also help patients cope with the pain, and alleviate their stress and anxiety. Her advice: Stay away from narcotics when treating IBS. Although narcotics are effective for relieving pain, these drugs can worsen the symptoms. We give patients medication to help with the pain, but that do not worsen bowel movements. Meyer, who lives in Connecticut and flies to Miami to be treated by Moshiree, says collaboration and communication with your doctor is key to figuring out a treatment that works best for you. My change is dramatic. People started saying there was softness to me now that I never had, she said. Moshiree wants patients to know that although there is no cure for IBS, they can get relief of their symptoms with treatments.

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Irritable bowel syndrome can be treated

Associate Professor of Medicine Baha Moshiree, M.D., M.S.  director of the motility program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine talks with Dr. Leopoldo Arosemena, a second year gastroenterology fellow on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.  
Dr. Moshiree sees patients diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and offers the treatments available.

IBS can be extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing but it is not fatal. Medications are used to treat the symptoms of IBS in conjunction with lifestyle changes. Medications for Diarrhea Nerve receptor antagonists relax the colon and slow waste movement through the lower bowel. This helps to reduce the occurrence of diarrhea. A nerve receptor antagonist must be prescribed by a gastroenterologist. At this time, nerve receptor antagonists are only used to treat women with IBS due to the side effects identified in male patients, states the Mayo Clinic. Alosetron (Lotronex) is a commonly prescribed nerve receptor antagonist. Your doctor may suggest that you take loperamide (Imodium) to treat diarrhea as well. Medication for Constipation A chloride channel activator is designed to increase the fluid in the intestines, preventing constipation associated with IBS. Lubiprostone (Amitiza) is a chloride channel activator that is approved to treat women age 18 and older who suffer from IBS-related constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, Amitiza has not proven to effectively treat male patients with IBS. You Might Also Like Psyllium Husk and IBS Medications for Pain and Cramping Anticholinergic medications are used to relieve bowel spasms associated with diarrhea or constipation. Anticholinergic medications are not specifically designed for IBS but are effective in both men and women, indicates the Mayo Clinic.

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