When irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) primarily causes constipation in addition to some other typical IBS symptoms, it is classified as constipation-predominant IBS or IBS-C. Unfortunately, there isn’t one clear-cut treatment method for IBS-C, so patients often require a combination of treatments to ease their symptoms. Dietary modifications, taking up regular exercise, and lowering stress are as important in relieving symptoms as the use of certain medications.
The purpose of treatment for IBS with constipation typically entails more than just promoting healthier bowel movements; it also addresses the symptoms of stomach pain, bloating, and discomfort that often accompany constipation.
Your first step in easing your IBS symptoms should always be seeing a doctor about your condition as it is important to confirm that the cause of your symptoms is indeed irritable bowel syndrome. You should also avoid taking any medications without having a discussion with your primary physician.
Medications for Constipation-Predominant IBS
Some patients get a relief from constipation by taking fiber supplements on a daily basis. The most commonly used supplements include wheat bran, calcium polycarbophil, and psyllium (the active ingredient in Metamucil). While most fiber supplements are effective in improving constipation, they typically do not ease accompanying symptoms such as stomach pain and bloating.
The use of stimulant or osmotic laxatives is another effective treatment approach to relieve constipation temporarily. However, you must avoid taking laxatives on a regular basis as prolonged use of them can have detrimental effects on your digestive health. Osmotic laxatives containing lactulose may sometimes be taken long-term by those who experience chronic constipation. However, whatever your case may be, it is paramount not to use laxatives without consulting with your physician.
Available under the brand name Linzess, this medication is designed for the treatment of constipation-predominant IBS in both women and men. The medication is taken once a day before breakfast. It induces bowel movements to ease constipation. Linaclotide may cause diarrhea in some people.
Available under the brand name Amitiza, this medication is approved only to be used in treating women with IBS-C who have had no success with non-prescription treatment options. Lubiprostone may cause side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Your doctor may also see it fit to put you on a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Lexapro, Zoloft, or Prozac. In small doses, these medications are effective in relieving constipation and modifying the pain signals between the brain and stomach.
Work closely with your primary physician to determine the most effective treatment plan for your particular case. With IBS, every patient requires a different approach to treatment. In a majority of cases, patients wind up having to try out numerous treatment options before pinpointing the most effective choices. With proper medical attention and perseverance, you can ultimately control your constipation-predominant IBS symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ Slphotography