There are numerous treatment options for individuals with diarrhea-predominant IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is also referred to as IBS-D. Some of the most effective strategies include dietary changes, stress management, medications, and some alternative remedies such as biofeedback. In some cases, a combination of some of these therapies may be needed to sufficiently relieve the symptoms of IBS-D.
IBS is a complicated syndrome that not only affects one’s regularity or bowel movements but also causes bothersome symptoms such as stomach pain and cramps, swelling, and gas. The primary purpose of any given IBS treatment is to address all the symptoms that impact a patient’s day-to-day life.
Do not attempt to relieve your IBS symptoms without the expertise of a doctor. You must first consult with a specialist to ensure that IBS is indeed the cause of your symptoms. If you do have IBS, your physician makes sure you have the most effective treatment plan to ease your symptoms.
Initially, your physician may recommend you try over-the-counter treatments such as medications containing the active ingredients loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate. However, these medications only address the symptom of diarrhea and are ineffective where others IBS symptoms such as stomach cramping and bloating are concerned. It is important not to overuse antidiarrheals as they may lead to more complications in the long run. It is generally a good idea to avoid taking any medication for longer than a few days without the knowledge of your primary physician.
There are also a variety of prescription medications your doctor can prescribe you to help with your IBS symptoms.
For instance, you may be prescribed antidepressants. The use of antidepressants in those with severe IBS symptoms such as diarrhea is common because they work by affecting neurological-gastrointestinal interactions and can especially be useful in relieving stomach pain.
Two types of antidepressants are commonly used in the treatment of diarrhea-predominant IBS: tricyclic and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The latter class of antidepressants is usually reserved for patients who experience depression in addition to IBS symptoms and can potentially cause diarrhea as a side effect. So, it is important to inform your doctor if your primary IBS symptom is diarrhea.
Another option is antispasmodics. These medications are a type of muscle relaxants that work by controlling the muscle spasms in the intestine, which is the primary cause of stomach pain and cramping.
Finally, an important measure in easing IBS symptoms is getting your stress level under control. Too much stress is known to exacerbate IBS symptoms. Most IBS patients see an improvement in their stress-induced symptoms by relying on behavioral therapy, biofeedback, medication, and other relaxation techniques.
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