The more you know about your condition and the type of IBS you have, the better you can deal with it.
Also, read books, pamphlets, and reliable sources of information on the Internet. Try the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) at www.iffgd.org, or call them at (888) 964-2001. There's also the Intestinal Disease Foundation at www.intestinalfoundation.org, or at (877) 587-9606.
Keeping track of your symptoms is another helpful tool. In a symptom journal, record when and where you experienced any stomach pain, discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. Also write down what you were doing, how you were feeling, and what type of food or medications you consumed before and when symptoms showed up. For woman know that your hormones affect your symptoms.
At work, talking to a trusted supervisor or co-worker may make it easier for you to deal with the disorder. Let them know that you have a valid chronic illness, and when symptoms flare up, you have no control over it.I make a habit of knowing where the bathrooms are everywhere I go.
In many people who have IBS, eating may trigger symptoms. However, for most people, there is not a particular type of food that triggers symptoms.
Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can help control constipation. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits (raspberries, pears, apples), fresh vegetables (peas, brussels sprouts), wheat bran, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Beans such as kidney, pinto, and garbanzo are also high-fiber foods, but they should probably be avoided if gas is one of your symptoms.
You can take steps to reduce the possibility that certain foods will cause symptoms, such as avoiding or limiting gas-producing foods (including beans and cabbage), sugarless chewing gum and candy, caffeine, and alcohol.
Medications that may be used to treat severe diarrhea that does not improve with home treatment include:
Antidiarrheals, such as diphenoxylate (Lomotil) and loperamide (Imodium), which slow intestinal movements.
Bile acid binding agents (cholestyramine), which prevent bile acids from stimulating the colon, slowing the passage of stools and relieving diarrhea.
Alosetron (Lotronex), which is used for some women who have severe diarrhea and who have not responded to other treatments. This medicine slows the movement of stools through the bowels.
Medicines for severe constipation that does not improve with home treatment include:
Lubiprostone (Amitiza), which works by increasing the amount of fluid in your intestines, making it easier for stool to pass.
Osmotic laxatives (such as Milk of Magnesia and nonabsorbable sugars such as lactulose), which work by holding fluids in the intestine and drawing fluids into the intestine from other tissue and blood vessels. This extra fluid in the intestines makes the stool softer and easier to pass. Use laxatives only when recommended by your doctor.
Polyethylene glycol (MiraLax), which helps the stool hold on to more water, making it softer and easier to pass.
Stimulant laxatives (such as Correctol, Dulcolax, or Senokot), which speed up how fast stool moves through the intestines by irritating the lining of the intestines. Regular use of stimulant laxatives is not recommended. Stimulant laxatives change the tone and feeling in the large intestine and you can become dependent on using laxatives all the time to have a bowel movement. Use laxatives only when recommended by your doctor.
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