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    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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    Treatment for IBS With Constipation (IBS-C)

    Prescription Medication continued...

    For IBS-C, your doctor may prescribe small doses of an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant, such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft). Their side effects may include nausea, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.

    Antispasmodics

    Antispasmodic drugs such as dicyclomine (Bentyl) and hyoscyamine (Levsin) relieve the stomach cramps brought on by IBS by relaxing the smooth muscle of the gut. But they also may cause constipation, so they aren't usually prescribed for people who suffer IBS-C. Other side effects are dry mouth, drowsiness, and blurred vision.

    Stress Management for IBS

    Studies have shown that reducing tension or worry can improve IBS symptoms.

    You can reduce stress in many ways. Regular exercise effectively lowers stress. So do yoga and meditation. You can also ease pressure through simple activities such as getting a massage, listening to music, taking a bath, or even reading a good book.

    Another stress-busting technique is behavioral therapy. This approach teaches you how to change the way your mind and body react to events. It can include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, hypnosis, biofeedback, and relaxation therapy. Most of these therapies help people avoid overreacting to stressful situations and people. The American College of Gastroenterologists says behavioral therapy can work well for many IBS symptoms.

    Alternative Treatments

    Some people find alternative therapies such as acupuncture and herbs relieve their symptoms. But there isn't much scientific evidence that these therapies work for IBS.

    If you want to try acupuncture or herbs for your IBS-C, talk with your doctors first. Some herbs can affect how other medications work.

    What's Right for You

    Work with your doctor to choose the right treatment plan for you. Not every treatment works for every person. You may need to try several different therapies, or different combinations, before you find what works.

    Also, your symptoms may change with treatment. You may feel constipated and swollen now, have diarrhea and cramping in a few weeks, and then go back to being constipated.

    With proper treatment -- and some patience -- you can manage your IBS-C symptoms and lead an active life.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 09, 2016
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