IBS is a group of symptoms. Most medicines are aimed at only one symptom. If your IBS is interfering with your daily life, your doctor may suggest or prescribe a medicine based on your most troubling symptom. Effects will vary widely from person to person.

All medicines have possible side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about these including what to watch out for and what to do if side effects do occur.

Here are some examples of treatments that target certain symptoms:


Antispasmodics and some peppermint oils, taken before meals, may provide short-term reduction of abdominal pain after eating. However, the evidence for their effectiveness is weak.

Probiotics based on bifidobacteria and some combinations of probiotics may help reduce pain and bloating. Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be of benefit, but they must be taken in adequate amounts.

Read More About Treating Pain in IBS


A soluble fiber supplement, such as psyllium may help with simple constipation. If fiber doesn't help, talk to your doctor about a laxative. Neither helps with pain.


Loperamide may help with simple diarrhea, as well as leakage or soiling. It does not help with pain.

Gas & Bloating

The most common ways to reduce the discomfort of gas are changing diet, taking medicines, and reducing the amount of air swallowed.

Read More About Diet for Controlling Gas & Bloating

Therapuetic Partnerships

Good communication – the physician-patient relationship – is an important part of effective long-term management of IBS and other chronic conditions.

Read More About Working with your Doctor

Working With Your Doctor

patient doctor

Successful relationships with healthcare providers are an important part of managing life with a long-term digestive disorder.

Working with Your Physician

Doctor Visit Worksheet

How to Talk to Your Doctor



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