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    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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    Treatment for IBS With Diarrhea (IBS-D)

    Stress Management for IBS

    Stress tends to make IBS symptoms worse. So therapies that can help you learn to handle these emotions can often help you find relief.

    One technique that seems to help most people is behavioral therapy. It teaches you better ways to deal with pain and stress. Types include relaxation therapy, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy.

    If you want to try behavioral therapy for IBS, try to find a therapist who will work with your regular doctor.

    Outside of formal therapy, you can try simple ways to reduce stress and ease IBS symptoms on your own. Meditation, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating a well-balanced diet for your IBS can help.

    Also, try to do something you enjoy every day. Take a walk, listen to music, soak in a bath, play sports, or read.

    Alternative Therapy for IBS

    Some people with IBS try alternative therapies such as acupuncture, probiotics, and herbs to relieve their symptoms.

    Keep in mind that most alternative therapies haven't been tested for effectiveness in rigorous clinical trials the way other treatments have.

    Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found that acupuncture works for chronic pain. For IBS relief, however, the results have been mixed.

    There is also some evidence that probiotics, "healthy" bacteria normally found in the gut, help some people with IBS. A study of one type, Bifidobacterium infantis, found that it greatly improved IBS symptoms and day-to-day life after people took it for 4 weeks. Research on another type, lactobacillus, has had more mixed reviews.

    Studies on herbs have been mixed. Some research has shown that peppermint relaxes colon muscles and may improve symptoms of IBS.

    If you want to try acupuncture or herbs for your IBS symptoms, talk with your doctor first. Some herbs can affect how well other medications work.

    What’s Right for You

    IBS-D is a complex condition. It takes time and patience to figure out what will help you feel your best. Not every treatment works for every person. And your symptoms may change while you’re getting treatment. You may have diarrhea now, then constipation in a few weeks, and then diarrhea again.

    Your best bet? Find a doctor who understands IBS and work together on your treatment plan.

    WebMD Medical Reference

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