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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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Other Treatment

A wide range of other treatments can be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Psychological treatment

Some kinds of psychological treatment may help with IBS symptoms. These treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and hypnosis.6

Other psychological treatments that are sometimes used for IBS include relaxation therapy, meditation, and biofeedback.

People who have IBS are more likely than people without the condition to have depression, panic disorder, or other psychological conditions.1 Acknowledging these factors may help you and your doctor successfully manage your condition.

Complementary treatment

IBS is different for each person, and no medicines have been proved to work really well for IBS. So people often try alternative or complementary treatments. Some of these treatments have been studied, and some have not.

  • Herbal therapies, such as Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese herbal medicine, may improve the symptoms of IBS. This has been shown in many studies of herbal therapy for IBS.9
  • Acupuncture is used as a treatment for IBS. But how well it works to treat IBS is still unknown.10
  • Peppermint oil has also been used to treat IBS. Studies have shown that peppermint oil works to improve IBS symptoms by preventing cramps and spasms in the intestines.6
  • Aloe is commonly used for IBS, especially IBS with constipation. There is currently no evidence for the use of aloe as an effective treatment for IBS.
  • Ginger has been used to treat nausea. It has been studied as a treatment for nausea caused by seasickness and surgery. It isn't known how well ginger helps in IBS.
  • Helpful bacteria, called probiotics, may help with IBS symptoms. In one study, people with IBS who took a daily pill containing the bacteria Bifidobacterium bifidum had fewer symptoms after 1 month compared with people who took a placebo pill. And almost half of the people taking the probiotic had what they considered "adequate" relief of symptoms.11 Other studies show that a supplement with a combination of types (called strains) of bacteria probably helps more than just one type. But more research is needed.6

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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