Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort with changes in bowel movement. It is the most common functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). A functional disorder does not have a known cause.
IBS is linked to inflammation, gut serotonin signaling abnormalities, changes in intestinal bacterial flora, genetic factors, and even psychological factors. In addition, IBS may cause diarrhea (IBS-D), constipation (IBS-C), or mixed diarrhea and constipation (IBS-M). One single treatment may not be sufficient to treat all IBS symptoms. Here is a review of treatment options for IBS.
Increasing fiber intake can help improve bowel function. Sources of fiber include vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains, bran, or bulk-forming products (for example, psyllium). People suffering from IBS-C benefit from fiber because it increases gut movement.
Studies suggest that soluble fiber (e.g., psyllium) is more beneficial than insoluble fiber (e.g., bran) and it has lower risks of side effects. In a study of 275 patients given psyllium, bran, or placebo, psyllium provided greater symptomatic relief. Soluble fibers improved bowel symptoms whereas insoluble fibers may worsen symptoms and provided little relief. However, fiber causes bloating and gas effects.
Next: Anticholinergic Agents, Peppermint Oil, Loperamide