Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (cont.)
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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term (chronic) but manageable condition. Treatment will depend on the types of symptoms you have and their severity, as well as how they affect your daily life, and will likely involve changes to your lifestyle. It is important that you work closely with your doctor to create a treatment plan that will meet your needs. Learn all you can about your condition so you can effectively communicate concerns and questions to your doctor.
No single type of treatment for irritable bowel syndrome works best for everyone. You and your doctor will need to work together to determine what may be triggering your symptoms. It will be necessary for you to adapt your lifestyle to best deal with your symptoms and still carry on with your daily activities. Let your doctor know if parts of your treatment are not helping your symptoms.
For some people who have IBS, certain foods may trigger symptoms. The following suggestions may help prevent or relieve some IBS symptoms:
Getting regular, vigorous exercise (such as swimming, jogging, or brisk walking) may help reduce tension and make your bowels more regular.
Medicines may be used along with lifestyle changes to manage symptoms of IBS. Medicines for IBS may include anticholinergics for cramping, medicines for diarrhea or constipation, antidepressants, or antianxiety drugs.
If stress triggers your symptoms, some form of psychological therapy or stress management may help you deal more positively with stress and help prevent or reduce stress-related IBS episodes.
Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) usually involves long-term management of your symptoms. It is important that you have a good working relationship with your doctor to monitor your symptoms and identify changes in your diet and lifestyle that can help relieve the symptoms. Keeping a journal of your symptoms can help you identify triggers that make symptoms worse.
Be especially aware of significant changes in symptoms, such as the appearance of blood in your stools, increased pain, severe fever, or unexplained weight loss. If any of these occur, your doctor may want to conduct additional tests to determine whether there is another cause for your symptoms.
In treating chronic IBS, be sure to maintain the changes to lifestyle and diet that relieve symptoms. Quitting smoking, avoiding caffeine and foods that make symptoms worse, and getting regular exercise should all be permanent parts of your daily routine.
You will likely continue to take medicines as needed to treat your symptoms.
Because IBS often results from a combination of physical and stress-related factors, a treatment approach that addresses both these causes will be most successful. In addition to treating constipation or diarrhea with medicines and changes to diet and lifestyle, stress management or other psychological therapy should be a major part of your treatment plan.
Treatment if the condition gets worse
If your symptoms get worse, your doctor will likely conduct more tests to determine whether there is another cause for your symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) does not lead to more serious conditions, such as cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, but a person with IBS may also have one of these illnesses.
Your doctor may also want you to try different medicines, or different dosages of your current medicines, if your symptoms are not responding to treatment.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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