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Irritating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Part 3)
March 16, 2009
Back before I became a diabetes educator, I worked with a team of gastroenterologists. Many of the patients that I saw had IBS. And while medication was often prescribed to try and regulate, if not alleviate, their symptoms, the reason that the physicians referred them to me was to make some nutritional changes; at that time, dietary intervention was the most effective way to manage IBS. Nutritional management is still a key factor in IBS management, but today we’re fortunate to have some other treatments available.
Management of IBS: Parallels to Diabetes
This week, we’ll look at how IBS can be managed with medication. Please realize that not everyone with IBS needs medication. In fact, many people can manage their symptoms with “lifestyle” measures (again, much like diabetes!) — healthy eating, regular physical activity, and stress management. We’ll talk more about these measures next week.
However, some people, unfortunately, have more severe symptoms of IBS. Medical management depends on the type of symptom one has — for example, diarrhea vs. constipation. Members of the American College of Gastroenterology’s expert panel released revised guidelines for treating IBS, which are published in the January 2009 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology. These guidelines are graded, which means that the quality of evidence and the overall expected benefit were taken under consideration (what this really means is that these guidelines can better help your health-care team choose the most appropriate and effective treatment for you).
Here are the available medications used for IBS. Some of these are over-the-counter (OTC), while some require a prescription.
Next week: More therapies for treating IBS!
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