If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation, you are not alone. There are many ways that you can help yourself become more comfortable, even with your condition. Read on to find out how you can make your life easier and better even if you have IBS with constipation.
Diet for IBS With Constipation
Dietary changes can do wonders for people with IBS and constipation. If you have constipation, you need to add more fiber for constipation. Fiber helps with constipation because it greatly softens the stool. This will make it easier for you by helping the stool to pass more easily. In order for you to be healthy, you need to consume around 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily.
If you have IBS with constipation, you need to start introducing foods with large amounts of fiber into your daily diet. This includes whole-grain bread, whole-grain cereal, vegetables, fruits, and beans. You also want loose bowel movements to help you with IBS and constipation. You can loosen up your bowels by consuming ground flaxseed, dried plums, water, and prune juice
Foods to Avoid for IBS With Constipation
There are also plenty of foods that will worsen your condition. If you are having IBS with constipation, you need to steer clear of these foods.
For one, you need to stay clear of coffee and other caffeinated drinks. Carbonated drinks will also make you feel worse. In addition, alcohol should not be part of your diet either. All of these types of drinks slow down the passage of your stool. Other refined foods including white rice, cookies, and chips will also force you to take a turn for the worse.
Not all of this applies to everyone. Different foods will affect people in different ways. For example, when some people eat too much fiber or certain types of foods, they will develop diarrhea as well as gas. If you want to find out exactly which foods affect you negatively, you need to keep an IBS symptom journal. Write down what IBS symptoms made an appearance, and keep track of the type as well as the amount of food you ate right before the symptoms occurred.
Fiber Supplements for IBS with Constipation
Many people use bulking agents, which are also known as fiber supplements, for IBS with constipation treatment. There are many different examples of bulking agents. For example, there is wheat bran, Fibercon, Psyllium, and corn fiber to name a few. These supplements will aid you in reducing your constipation problems. This way, you will have less to worry about.
However, many people do not want to take these supplements because they do not help with overall IBS symptoms. Even if you do take these supplements, you are still going to have stomach aches, swelling, and discomfort. Sometimes, if you take too much, abdominal pain can become even worse. You may even experience more discomfort as well as bloating.
Do not be discouraged. Make sure that you ask your physician if he recommends taking fiber supplements. This does work for many people, even if it does not work for everyone.
Laxatives for IBS with Constipation
Some people with IBS and constipation often fall back on taking laxatives. This makes them go to the bathroom easier. However, laxatives are only good for short-term relief. If taken over a long-term period, it can be very harmful.
Laxatives do wonders if you only have constipation occasionally. If you experience constipation on a very frequent basis, you should not be relying on laxatives. In addition, just like with fiber supplements, laxatives do not help with other IBS symptoms, including bloating and stomach aches.
If you do take laxatives, you will run into the danger of forming bad habits. This can be extremely harmful over a period of time. You do not want to make the mistake of becoming reliant on these laxatives.
But how do laxatives work? There are different types of laxatives. In stimulant laxatives, an ingredient called senna makes the muscles within your bowels contract. This forces stool through your bowel. However, if used for too long, this chemical will damage the nerves within your colon wall. If you take them on a regular basis, these laxatives will cease to have the desired effect for you. Stimulant laxatives include castor oil, Senokot, Dulcolax, and cascara sagrada.
Osmotic laxatives are another type. These force water back into your colon, which will help to soften your stool. The additional water will make it even easier for your stool to pass. However, these are not good for those suffering from IBS. They only help with constipation. They can even worsen your other symptoms and add problems including dehydration, bloating, and diarrhea.
However, the good part about osmotic laxatives is that they are safer for long-term use. This is different from stimulant laxatives. Lactulose, a type of osmotic laxative requires a prescription. However, if you want an over-the-counter option, you can look into purchasing Miralax.
These types of medications are good for a short while. However, if you find that you need to consistently stay on these medicines, you need to make sure that you were diagnosed correctly. You do not want to mistake something else for IBS. Make sure that you check in with your primary care physician.
Prescription Drugs for IBS with Constipation
If you want to treat IBS with constipation and you are female, you can be prescribed Amitiza. Men cannot have this drug yet because not enough studies have shown whether or not the drug is effective for men. However, as with all medicine, you need to be aware of the possible side effects. For Amitiza, these include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea.
Another drug that is approved for IBS with constipation treatment is Linzess. This is a capsule that needs to be taken once daily when your stomach is empty. It must be taken at least, 30 minutes before you have your first meal. This will greatly help relieve your constipation. This is because it will force your bowel movements to occur much more often. However, children younger than 18 years of age cannot take this. A common side effect of Linzess is diarrhea.
Consult your doctor about what types of prescription medication is best for your IBS condition. Other prescription medications are available but most have their own side effects. Before you decide on any certain medication, make sure that you are well-informed about the drug.
Antidepressants for IBS with Constipation
What some people are surprised to hear is that antidepressants in low amounts can help greatly for IBS with constipation. This has nothing to do with whether or not you are depressed.
Antidepressants work well for IBS because they block pain signals from going from your gut to your brain. You will be able to feel less pain. However, this is only okay if you are only prescribed for low dosages. Medium or high dosages are not appropriate for IBS treatment.
If you have constipation with your IBS, you might be asked to take a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). These include Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac. Although, these do not cause constipation, they will likely make you nauseous, lose your appetite, and have diarrhea.
Older antidepressants, also called tricyclic antidepressants are better for those with diarrhea. This is because a side effect is constipation. From these, Elavil, Norpramine, and Pamelor are all possible choices. However, you may end up with dry mouth, drowsiness, and confusing vision.
Stress Management for IBS with Constipation
If you have appropriate amounts of stress management, this can also help you with your IBS symptoms. Usually, stress makes your IBS condition even worse. Make sure that you look into ways that you can greatly relieve your own stress. This can be done with regular and healthy exercise. Yoga and meditation also do wonders. You can also reduce your pressure by doing what you enjoy. This can be done by getting a proper massage, taking a relaxing bath, reading a book you enjoy, or listening to calming music.
If you need professional help, you should look into behavioral therapy. This will teach you how you can change the way you physically and emotionally react to certain events in your life. Therapy types include psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, biofeedback, and hypnosis. This will help you avoid overreacting to potential stressful situations as well as people.
No matter how you decide to treat your IBS symptoms along with constipation, make sure that you consult your physician. Make sure that you are well-informed about everything you need to know about each and every treatment. As a patient, you have a right to this information. Make sure that you ask for further clarification if you need it.