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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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Stress Therapy Can Help Irritable Bowel

Don't Just Put Up With Symptoms; Treatments Can Improve Life Quality

Stress Therapy, Medications Help continued...

"The anxiety and stress can impact how well a patient interacts with friends and family," he tells WebMD. "Also, work absenteeism is three times higher for irritable bowel patients, compared to rest of the population."

There are a range of effective treatments for irritable bowel, says Whitehead. "Treatments range from low doses of antidepressants, hypnosis, [stress] therapy to dietary changes, medicines for constipation and diarrhea, a whole spectrum of treatments."

It's true that "with IBS one symptom can make other symptoms seem worse," says Ryan Madanick, MD, a gastrointestinal specialist at the University of Miami School of Medicine. "It's like when you're under stress, you tend to respond more negatively to stimuli that don't normally cause you problems, they irritate you. With IBS, it seems to be the same thing going on in the intestine.

"Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications probably help the most, because unfortunately stress-related disorders and IBS go hand in hand," Madanick tells WebMD. "If you can decrease the stress, you're breaking the cycle and improving overall quality of life."

Also, make regularly scheduled visits for irritable bowel problems, not visits on an emergency basis, he advises.

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