IBS Treatment and Prognosis

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IBS Treatment and Prognosis

Interestingly, the treatment of IBS primarily involves psychological support and dietary changes. Medications are available to help with symptoms but are generally secondary.

  • Dietary Considerations:
    • Fiber supplementation may help with symptoms of constipation and diarrhea; however, evidence on the effectiveness of fiber is inconclusive and patients may experience increased bloating and discomfort.
    • High water intake is important, especially for patients with constipation.
    • Patients should also avoid foods that generally increase anxiety or bloating. Examples include caffeine and difficult to digest items such as legumes or uncooked vegetables.
  • Psychiatric Considerations: The available evidence for psychiatric therapy is inconclusive. Nonetheless, psychiatric therapy may be helpful for patients with IBS, and professional psychiatric guidance should be pursued in individuals with the disease. There is no harm in talking to a psychiatrist, and many individuals find great relief in talking to a psychiatrist about IBS or other problems that may be contributing to the disease.

  • Medical Considerations: There are a large number of medications available for use in treating IBS. Many of those medications provide symptom relief while the rest are used in an attempt to control the disease itself. The general classes of medications used for IBS include laxatives for constipation, antidiarrheals, anti-spasmotics, antibiotics, and antidepressants.

Traditional Drugs for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Fiber Supplements
Antispasmodic Drugs

Prognosis of Patients with IBS

The most important thing to realize about IBS is that it does not decrease life expectancy nor does it increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. Unfortunately, IBS is a chronic disease. Symptoms generally come and go and may have varying severity. Lifelong treatment may be required and is best maintain through a close patient-provider relationship.