Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Although the exact cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is unknown, one of the possible causes would be faulty communication between the brain and the intestinal tract. Some signs and symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include pain and cramping, abdominal pain, bloating up of stomach, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Being a chronic condition, Irritable Bowel Syndrome needs to be managed long-term.
A good thing about this is, only a small number of people with irritable bowel syndrome experience severe signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms can be controlled by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. People who experience severe symptoms will need medication and counseling.
People suffering from IBS do not experience the same symptoms, with the same level of severity. There may be different predominant symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in different people. Hence, there is no one type of IBS medication available that have demonstrated to control all the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There are a lot of medications based on its different symptoms.
Here is the list of IBS medications separated on the basis of symptoms caused by the disorder:
- IBS medication for Diarrhea
Some of the medicines used to treat severe diarrhea include Antidiarrheal and loperamide. An Antidiarrheal drug is any medicine which provides symptomatic relief from diarrhea and help in regulating bowel movement. Loperamide medicines help in decreasing the frequency of diarrhea. It is not recommended for those patients who experience blood in their stool. Medicines with Bile acid binding agents help in controlling the bile production, excess of which is harmful in case of diarrhea. Medicines with components such as rifaximin have shown to help people with bloating due to diarrhea. Medicines with Alosetron usually works for women with severe diarrhea.
Most of the IBS medications for constipation are available as over the counter (OTC) and are okay to be consumed without a prescription. Medicines containing osmotic laxatives are substances that loosen stools and increase bowel movements, thus helping in providing relief from constipation. Medicines with polyethylene glycol help in relieving constipation by causing the water to be retained with the stool thereby increasing the number of bowel movements. It softens the stool, making it easier to pass. Linaclotide is also one of the components in medicines that helps in controlling the symptoms of constipation.
- IBS medication for pain and cramping
The symptoms of IBS can cause long-term pain and cramping. To provide relief from these symptoms, medicinal components such as anticholinergics can be used. Anticholinergics agents are those substances that block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. They inhibit parasympathetic nerve impulses by preventing the binding of neurotransmitter acetylcholine to its receptors in nerve cells. Antidepressant medicines in low doses can also help with the pain caused by IBS.
Depression is also one of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Antidepressants help in controlling depression by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the chemicals produced in the brain that is responsible for altering moods. Anti-anxiety is a medication that inhibits anxiety. These can also be taken as IBS medication, under the strict prescription of a doctor.
All the medications mentioned above, need to be taken strictly as prescribed by the doctors. This is because these medications have their own side effects. Thus, understanding the amount of dosage is important.
- Anti-spasmodic medications are those IBS medications that help in smoothening muscle spasm especially in tubular organs of the gastrointestinal tract. Its effect prevents spasms in the stomach, intestine and urinary bladder.
- IBS Over the Counter Medication
Some of the OTC medications may offer relief from IBS symptoms. These include Fiber supplements. Fiber supplements have a number of health benefits. As a form of IBS medication, they help in normalizing bowel function and preventing constipation. Medicines containing probiotics improve intestinal flora balance, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria. They promote good digestion, thereby helping to control symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Apart from these medicines, enteric-coated peppermint capsules help in treating IBS symptoms such as pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Even though, over the counter, these medicines should still be consumed after consulting a doctor.
Include more fiber in your daily diet. They help in reducing constipation, but the downside to this is, it can make gas and cramping worse. The solution is, increase the amount of fiber in your diet slowly over a period of weeks. Caffeinated beverages worsen the condition of IBS, thus, avoid consuming them.
To avoid complications due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, simple changes in diet and lifestyle can also provide relief from the symptoms. Although your body may not respond immediately to these changes, you should aim at long-term goals and not temporary solutions.