The overall method of treating irritable bowel syndrome focuses on the theorized pathologic mechanisms of the ailment: 1) disturbed GI motility, 2) hypersensitivity to pain, and 3) psychologic factors. The treatment methods all try to correct or enhance one or more of the mechanisms above. It starts with every individual experiencing a methodical workup and being categorized into one of two groups: Diarrhea predominant IBS or Constipation predominant IBS. These two groups can help propose and guide initial treatment plans.
Medicating for IBS
With respect to the symptoms, IBS could be medicated pharmacologically (with drugs) or non-pharmacologically (without drugs) or both methods could be utilized. The beginning, extent, and any complicating factors have an important effect to the type of therapy used. The drugs could be separated into anti-diarrheal agents, laxatives, bulking agents, and antidepressants and are useful in treating constipation, diarrhea, bloating and discomfort.
One Drug, Multiple Functions
Even within these classes the drugs used can fit in a particular category of medications but can also be used for some other function. A good example is the antidepressant tegaserod (a 5-HT4 agonist) which can be utilized as a laxative in females with constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C). The anti-diarrheals in this particular depressant are the anti-spastic agents dicyclomine and hyoscamine. Additionally, it contains alosetron (or lotronex) a 5-HT3 antagonist.
Bulking agents work well because they contain many different kinds of fiber, an element which goes a long way in helping treat IBS. Psyllium (Metamucil) is a favorite drug for supplying bulk to stool and for the raising stool frequency. Antidepressants are used whenever there’s signs or suspicions that psychological variables are complicating or affecting the bowel symptoms. And as mentioned before antidepressants may additionally be utilized as an anti-diarrheal.
Non-pharmacological treatments are being investigated and now are gaining in popularity. These treatments are also geared toward the mechanism of the disease process. A number of these propose various lifestyle changes, including closely watching your diet plan. Certain foods which may disturb the bowels (lactose) or incite the immune-system are to be avoided at all costs.
Probiotics are introduced to help relieve symptoms by directly affecting the colonic flora. Complementary and alternative medicine methods, including acupuncture, are also being developed and used to treat symptoms of IBS and other belly problems (Read: Three Effective Solutions for the Treatment of Constipation) .