Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatments

Because symptoms vary from patient to patient, most treatments are highly individualized. Treatments may include:

  • Dietary changes:
    • Avoid foods high in fat, spicy food and alcohol, as well as food such as onions, beans, crustaceous vegetables and gluten.
    • Eat five or six small meals throughout the day.
    • Your physician will work with you to identify trigger foods and plan a diet to minimize discomfort.
  • Behavioral therapies: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has consistently been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms for at least 80 percent of IBS patients. CBT helps patients learn skills to manage and reduce their abdominal pain or altered bowel habits. Additional techniques may include yoga, meditation and hypnosis.
  • Medications: Treatment may include fiber supplements, anti-diarrheal medication, antispasmodics, antibiotics and antidepressants.
  • Natural supplements: Probiotics (healthy bacteria) and herbs such as peppermint oil capsules may prove helpful in controlling symptoms.

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