ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best way to alleviate an Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Question

What is the best way to alleviate an Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

I am a 42 year old male that has been suffering from an Irritable Bowel Syndrome since 1990. My bowel movements are affected greatly because I will have either constipation or very loose stools. I have noticed that certain activities especially sexual activities irritate my IBS. I also noticed that many forms of stress can also irritate especially when it comes to work related activities.

Answer

Your symptoms sound exactly like typical irritable Bowel Syndrome. The symptoms of IBS wax and wane and are often directly tied to stressors and mood disturbances. Your report of stress causing your symptoms to return shows me that this is a primary trigger for your symptoms and therefore you should focus on dealing with these issues in the most effective way to help alleviate you symptoms. You will find that if you are successful at controlling the stressors in your life, you IBS symptoms will follow suite. This can be tough, and this is where medication can sometimes be helpful. The challenge here is that you have a combination of very loose stools and constipation. Most IBS medications are geared towards either treating the constipation or the diarrhea, but not both. This may make your treatment with medicines more difficult. I think your next best bet would be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will be able to listen to the details of your IBS triggers and determine the best method to avoid them. Your first step will be to find ways to avoid or alleviate your stress which exacerbates your IBS. After that, you can try some of the newer medications. Good luck.

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