If you have IBS with constipation you probably already know how important fiber-rich foods are for your comfort. Making the American Dietetic Association's recommendation to eat 20-35 grams of fiber a day your mealtime mantra is a great place to start. But in order for a high-fiber eating plan to work its magic, you have to do three things:
Reach the higher-fiber target (of 20-35 grams of fiber a day) almost every day.
Spread high-fiber foods throughout the day so it works better.
This all makes it difficult for researchers to find a single drug treatment that will relieve all the symptoms of IBS. Different medications work for IBS with constipation and for IBS with diarrhea. Doctors will usually tailor an individual treatment regimen for people who have IBS with alternating symptoms.
People with alternating IBS symptoms should not try to treat themselves, says J. Patrick Waring, MD, a gastroenterologist at Digestive Health Care of Georgia.
"They should not take something for their constipation on their own, and then when they get diarrhea, take something for their diarrhea, and go back and forth," he says. "That can actually exacerbate the problem."
J. Patrick Waring, MD, gastroenterologist, Digestive Health Care of Georgia.
Medscape.com: "Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome," and "Consensus Report: Clinical Trial Guidelines for Pharmacological Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome."
American College of Gastroenterology.