Irritable Bowel Syndrome

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that prevents food from moving through your intestines normally. The food may move through too slowly or too quickly. This causes bloating, increased gas, constipation, or diarrhea.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • Diarrhea medicine: This medicine is given to decrease the amount of diarrhea you are having. Some of these medicines coat the intestine and make bowel movements less watery. Other medicines work by slowing down how fast the intestines move food through.

  • Muscle relaxers: This medicine decreases abdominal pain and muscle spasms.

  • Laxatives: This medicine helps treat constipation by moving food and liquids out of your stomach faster.

  • Stool softeners: This medicine softens bowel movements to prevent straining.

  • Hormone receptor medicines: This medicine can only be used to treat constipation in women with IBS.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage IBS:

  • Keep a diary: Keep a diary of everything you eat and drink, and your symptoms, for 3 weeks.

  • Wellness tips:

    • Eat a variety of healthy foods: This may help you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

    • Drink liquids as directed: Adults should drink between 9 and 13 eight-ounce cups of liquid every day. Ask what amount is best for you. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juice, and milk.

    • Get plenty of exercise: Talk to your caregiver about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can decrease your blood pressure and improve your health.

    • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Quitting smoking will improve your health and the health of those around you. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.

    • Manage stress: Stress may slow healing and cause illness. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have pain in your rectum.

  • Your abdominal pain does not go away, even after treatment.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe abdominal pain.

  • Your bowel movements are dark or have blood in them.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Aftercare Instructions)

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