IBS C (IBS with constipation) symptoms can often be eased through dietary changes and the introduction of regular exercises like walking, running and/or swimming, for example, into your daily routine. If these methods fail, your doctor may recommend/prescribe one or more of varying different IBS C medication and treatment options.
One of the most important changes to make when suffering with IBS C is to introduce more fibre into your diet, as this can help to reduce constipation by softening your stool and making it much easier to pass. Wholemeal cereals and bread; vegetables, fruit and pulses are all good sources of fibre. Water, prune juice and dried plums can also assist in loosening your bowels, as can ground flax seed and fibre supplements like wheat bran or psyllium (ispaghula and other husks).
It should be noted here that different foods affect different people with IBS differently. Too much fibre, some high-fibre foods and fibre supplements could, for example, cause diarrhoea or worsen bloating, discomfort and abdominal pain in some individuals with IBS.
Keeping an IBS symptom/food diary to identify which foods affect your digestive system is therefore highly recommended (simply note down any IBS symptoms you have and the food – type and amount – you ate before these symptoms started).
Refined foods (biscuits, crisps and white rice, for instance) and alcohol; fizzy drinks and coffee can all slow the natural passage of stool and should therefore be limited, if not avoided altogether.
IBS C Medication – Laxatives
Meant for short-term use, laxatives may offer some relief as a type of IBS C medication, but can cause more problems if taken regularly for prolonged periods of time. Potentially habit-forming, laxatives also do little to relieve other IBS symptoms, such as, for example, bloating and stomach pain. There are two types of laxative:
Stimulant Laxatives – In these laxatives, the Senna ingredient moves stool through your bowel by triggering contraction of your bowel muscles. This chemical can, over time, cause damage to the nerves in your colon wall. Stimulant laxatives, which include bisacodyl, docusate sodium and Senna, may eventually also stop working.
Osmotic Laxatives – Pulling water into your stool, osmotic laxatives make your stool easier to pass by softening it. They have no positive effect on other IBS symptoms and, due to their side effects, which include bloating, dehydration and diarrhoea, may actually make matters worse in the long run.
IBS C Medication – Antidepressants
As antidepressants can block your brain’s perception of pain within the gut, your GP may prescribe an antidepressant, usually in a low dose. In terms of IBS C medication, this is most likely to be a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI antidepressant. Side effects of this drug include loss of appetite, diarrhoea and nausea.
In addition, or as an alternative to IBS C medication, stress management including regular exercise, Yoga and/or relaxation; cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnotherapy and/or psychotherapy may assist in managing IBS symptoms, as may acupuncture and/or herbal remedies.
Every type of IBS C medication or treatment does not necessarily work for every individual. What’s more, symptoms of this very complex illness may change during treatment. Some people bounce back and forth between being constipated and suffering with diarrhoea, for instance. It is therefore necessary to work in close cooperation with your GP to find the most suitable, effective treatment plan and IBS C medication to work for you.