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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms, Causes And Treatments – Forbes

May 12th, 2023

A plethora of IBS treatment options exist and doctors who specialize in treating IBS, such as gastroenterologists or primary care providers, can offer treatment plans tailored to a persons specific needs and symptoms. Treatment options may include medication, dietary changes, therapy for mental health conditions like anxiety and other lifestyle changes. Most people see symptoms improve after seeking treatment.

Several medications are used to treat IBS. Depending on a persons symptoms, a health care provider may suggest one of the following.

Dietary modifications may be necessary to ease symptoms of IBS. For example, research shows fatty or caffeinated foods can trigger colonic contractions, and people with IBS may see symptoms improve after limiting their intake of coffee, caffeinated tea or fat-rich foods.

People with abdominal discomfort or bloating may also benefit from consuming fewer high-carbohydrate foods, as research suggests they tend to cause digestive discomfort after reaching the digestive tract. People with IBS who consume a well-balanced diet should be mindful of fruits, vegetables and fibers containing fermentable carbohydrates, a group of sugars that can be difficult to digest and may exacerbate IBS symptoms.

Research suggests a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) can help people with IBS minimize abdominal pain, excess gas and bloating.

The low FODMAP diet is an evidence based, validated lifestyle modification that has been shown to improve symptoms of IBS, says Dr. Mccutchen. A nutritionist can help determine individual dietary needs and tailor meal plans to help minimize IBS flares.

When medical treatments arent effective in treating IBS symptoms, some doctors may suggest a referral to a licensed mental health professional for cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy or biofeedback.

Mental health plays a strong role in the symptoms of IBS, says Dr. Mccutchen. Studies have shown that improving your psychological well-being leads to improvement in gut health.

Alternative therapies for IBS include acupuncture, therapeutic massages and supplements that improve gut health, such as probiotics or peppermint oil. One potential cause of irritable bowel syndrome is [that] theres an imbalance of the gut microbiome, says Dr. Chhabra. Trying to achieve the desired balance through probiotics (the good bacteria) and prebiotics (food for the good bacteria) may alleviate some symptoms [of IBS], she adds.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms, Causes And Treatments - Forbes

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