Skip to content

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Diarrhea

Font Size
A
A
A

People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea often find relief from several types of treatment.

Treatment options include dietary changes, medication, stress reduction, behavioral therapy, and alternative therapy. You may need to try just one, or you may need a combination of these approaches to get relief.

Recommended Related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers and Prevention

By taking steps to prevent the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it is possible to lead a productive, healthy life. With some planning, you can avoid IBS triggers that cause symptom flares. Your doctor can provide a complete treatment plan for IBS prevention. Print out this list of common IBS triggers and prevention strategies. Keep it handy for reference. It may help you identify personal triggers in an IBS symptom journal. Triggers and symptoms may vary depending on the type of IBS....

Read the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers and Prevention article > >

After all, IBS is a complex syndrome that not only involves problems with bowel movement, but also abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and gas. The goal of treatment is to improve all of your symptoms.

To find out what treatment is right for you, talk with your doctor. Never attempt to treat yourself for IBS without consulting with a doctor. Some over-the-counter medicines and supplements have health risks if taken for a long time. Your doctor will likely recommend one or a combination of the following treatment strategies.

IBS and Diet

A few changes in your diet may help ease IBS with diarrhea.

Avoid chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, the artificial sweetener sorbitol (found in sugarless gum and mints), and fructose (the simple sugar found in honey and many fruits). These can worsen diarrhea symptoms. Your eating history can help you determine if any of these are triggers for your symptoms.

Fried fare and too much fiber can also worsen symptoms. This doesn't mean you should avoid fiber altogether. The nutrient works to prevent diseases such as colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Plus, it keeps your diarrhea from turning into constipation. However fiber sometimes leads to flatulence and bloating.

With the diarrhea, it's best to consume soluble -- as opposed to insoluble -- fiber. It takes a longer time to leave the digestive system, says Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, author of the "American Dietetic Association Guide to Better Digestion."

Good sources of soluble fiber include oat bran, barley, the flesh of fruit (as opposed to the skin), and navy, pinto, and lima beans.

It may also help to drink six to eight glasses of plain water a day. Bonci suggests drinking water an hour before or an hour after meals. Drinking water with meals may make the food run through your system a little faster.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Today on WebMD

filling glass of water from faucet
Prevention strategies to try.
stomach ache
From symptoms to treatments.
 
Hand holding white tablet
Treatment options.
worried mature woman
Are they related?
 
IBS Trigger Foods
Video
Supplements for IBS What Works
Article
 
IBS Symptoms Quiz
Quiz
digestive health
Slideshow
 
gluten free diet
Slideshow
digestive myths
Slideshow
 
what causes diarrhea
Video
top foods for probiotics
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections