Constipation can be a common problem for people with IBS. In fact, IBS where constipation is a very common problem is known as constipation predominant IBS, or IBS-C. There are a few things that can help you relieve the pain and discomfort of constipation.
Over The Counter
Over the counter remedies can be very helpful in treating your symptoms, and helping ease your constipation. You might be advised to try a laxative, but you need to be aware that there are different kinds of laxative, and some may not be appropriate for IBS. OTC laxatives are designed to be used for ‘occasional’ constipation, so they really shouldn’t be used on a regular basis. They also won’t treat any additional symptoms that you may be experiencing such as bloating, or stomach-ache.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe a laxative, or other medication that is designed to help treat IBS-C. However, some doctors and researchers believe that talking laxatives can change your constipation predominant IBS to diarrhea predominant IBS. You can also build up an intolerance to the long term use of laxatives, and you intestinal muscles can become dependent on the drugs.
Your doctor may advise you to try an emollient. An emollient is a stool softener, and despite popular belief, they are not laxatives. They provide the stool with moisture, which can make it easier to pass.
Sometimes, doctors will prescribe a low dose of an antidepressant as a treatment for IBS-C. Some antidepressants can block how the brain perceives the pain caused by constipation.
Some IBS-C suffers find relief from natural remedies, such as probiotics, prebiotics, and supplements. Others find that drinking prune juice, or eating prunes, can help relieve the symptoms. Others manage their constipation by adding more fiber to their diets, but this can increase symptoms like gas, or bloating.
Prevention is always better than cure, especially with constipation. You may be able to prevent your episodes of constipation by changing your lifestyle.
IBS can be managed effectively by changing your diet. Most people would recommend trying a low FODMAP diet, which can help ease the symptoms of IBS. You should avoid foods which can trigger an IBS flare up, and High FODMAP foods such as:
You should add in low FODMAP foods, such as:
- Basmati Rice
There are a few changes you can make to your overall lifestyle that can help ease your IBS symptoms. You should make sure you get enough sleep. You should also ensure that you are drinking plenty of water, especially if you are constipated as it can help ease the passing of stool. You should also try some gentle exercise. It’s also very important to go to the toilet when you feel you need to.
You should also look at ways to better manage and reduce your stress. Many IBS sufferers see a correlation between an IBS flare up, and the level of stress that they have. You can try yoga, meditation, or mindfulness to see if they can help lower your stress levels, and ease your symptoms.