Irritable bowel syndrome
- more frequent or stronger squeezing (contractions) of the muscles lining your bowel
- increased sensitivity to the gas inside your bowel
- your genetic make-up
- excess wind
- feeling sick
- bladder problems
- weight loss
- blood in your faeces
- symptoms first developing after age 60
- a family history of bowel problems
- diarrhoea without other symptoms
- Eat regular meals.
- Drink enough fluids. Limit caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee, alcohol and soft drinks.
- Cut down on foods rich in insoluble fibre, such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain rice and cereals containing bran.
- Eat no more than three portions of fruit a day.
- Avoid processed foods. These may contain 'resistant starch' which is difficult for your body to digest.
- If you have diarrhoea, cut out the artificial sweetener sorbitol. This is used in some sugar-free sweets and drinks, and diet products.
- Try the supplement ispaghula powder to help relieve constipation.
- Bloating symptoms may be improved by eating oats, which are found in some cereals and porridge, and a tablespoon of linseeds each day.
- Anti-diarrhoea medicines, such as loperamide (eg Imodium) may help. You should only take them as needed, not on a regular basis.
- Certain laxatives, such as ispaghula husk (eg Fybogel), can help if you have constipation. These are bulk-forming laxatives. Stronger laxatives called bowel-stimulating laxatives, such as senna, may help. However, you should speak to your doctor before using them routinely.
- Antispasmodic medicines, such as mebeverine hydrochloride (eg Colofac), alverine citrate and peppermint oil capsules, may help with stomach cramps and wind.
- Probiotics contain helpful bacteria and yeasts and are contained in some yoghurts. There is some scientific evidence that certain strains can be helpful for IBS symptoms, but this isn't conclusive.
- If you need to use painkillers, ibuprofen (eg Nurofen) or aspirin may make your symptoms worse. Try to use paracetamol.
This information was published by Bupa Group's Health Content Team and has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. To the best of their knowledge the information is current and based on reputable sources of medical evidence, however Bupa (Asia) Limited makes no representation or warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of the Content.
The information on this page, and any information on third party websites referred to on this page, is provided as a guide only. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Bupa (Asia) Limited is not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of, or reliance on, the information.
Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. Last updated August 2017.
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