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How are osmotic laxatives used to treat IBS with constipation (IBS-C)?

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Osmotic laxatives include lactulose, which is prescribed by a doctor, and polyethylene glycol (Miralax), which you can buy over the counter. They pull water back into the colon to soften stool. That makes it easier to pass, but research has found that they only help with constipation. They may actually make other IBS symptoms worse. Side effects include diarrhea, dehydration, and bloating. Osmotics are considered fairly safe for long-term use for some people with IBS-C, but talk it over with your doctor before you use them regularly.

SOURCES:

Philip Schoenfeld, MD, professor of medicine, University of Michigan.

Jeanine Blackman, MD, PhD, Bethesda, MD.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Acupuncture."

Mayo Clinic: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome."

About.com: "Herbs and Supplements for IBS."

Medscape: "Probiotics Significantly Reduce Symptoms of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis," "Highlights from Digestive Disease Week: An Expert Interview with Lawrence R. Schiller, MD."

FDA.

Harvard Health Publications: "Understanding and treating an irritable bowel."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on March 25, 2018

SOURCES:

Philip Schoenfeld, MD, professor of medicine, University of Michigan.

Jeanine Blackman, MD, PhD, Bethesda, MD.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Acupuncture."

Mayo Clinic: "Irritable Bowel Syndrome."

About.com: "Herbs and Supplements for IBS."

Medscape: "Probiotics Significantly Reduce Symptoms of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis," "Highlights from Digestive Disease Week: An Expert Interview with Lawrence R. Schiller, MD."

FDA.

Harvard Health Publications: "Understanding and treating an irritable bowel."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on March 25, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

What prescription medications are used to treat IBS with constipation (IBS-C)?

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