Drugs and supplements used in the treatment of irritable bowel

Medical treatment of irritable bowel

Irritable bowel syndrome or irritable colon (IBS) is a disease with a component of nervous origin, which produces digestive disorders.


Relaxation is part of the treatment of irritable bowel

Therefore, in addition to medical treatment, relaxation therapies should be performed to reduce stress, treat insomnia and other nervous symptoms that may appear.

The main drugs used to treat irritable bowel are described below. The adequacy of each treatment should be consulted with the doctor.

Antibiotics and antidiarrheals, medicines for diarrhea

In the presence of symptoms of diarrhea, the doctor should prescribe antibiotics, probiotics (supplements of healthy bacteria for the intestine) and antidiarrheals as part of the treatment.

Antibiotics are necessary to eliminate possible parasites, harmful bacteria or other microorganisms that may be causing this affectation. If they are taken, it should always be by prescription and never self-medicate.

The natural alternative to antibiotics, when diarrhea appears without infectious cause, may be the garlic oil pearls or garlic extracts.

Antidiarrheals serve to stop diarrhea. Loperamide is the drug most commonly used to treat irritable bowel symptoms, but it does not cure it. These drugs are totally contraindicated in case of constipation since they act by reducing intestinal movement.

Another natural supplement against diarrhea that has proven effective in some cases are the pearls of peppermint oil, although it can have adverse effects. Mint infusions may also be appropriate.

Supplements and remedies for constipation

The medications and supplements that are usually recommended to solve constipation are:

  • Supplements of soluble fiber: Glucomannan, ispágula or psyllium. They act in a mechanical way helping to form fecal bolus and stimulating the natural movement of the intestines. These supplements have been shown to be effective against constipation (accompanied by proper diet). They should be administered with plenty of water, as not providing enough water can cause blockages or intestinal plugs.
  • Osmotic laxatives: As supplements of magnesium (especially magnesium sulfate), lactulose and polyethylene glycol. They act by capturing water in the intestines and in some cases they can produce excessively liquid stools. They must be accompanied by abundant hydration and minerals to replace electrolyte losses.

In all cases, constipation should be treated with an adequate diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) and abundant hydration (water) to be effective.

NOT ADEQUATE supplements or medications that are sometimes indicated for constipation

Bran cereals

Bran cereals. This type of cereal is very harmful and is not recommended

  • Stimulant laxatives: Like fenoftaleína, bisacodilo or stimulating plants (sen, cassia, cascara sagrada). They are recommended only under medical advice and never on a regular basis.Attention must be paid to the labels because they are often the most common plants on the shelves of supermarkets, which appear under different trade names such as “Infulax”, “Intestinal transit”, etc.

They are also toxic plants contraindicated in pregnancy. In some cases, specialists consider that the habitual use of laxative infusions is what produces chronic constipation and that can trigger this syndrome. (more information)

  • Insoluble fiber: Bran type of wheat, corn fibers or fiber cereals. This type of fibers is very irritating to the intestinal tract and can cause aggravation of symptoms and pain.
  • Suppositories and enemas: They have been used in cases of severe constipation, specific situations. They are not recommended as usual.

Probiotics for irritable bowel (constipation and diarrhea)

Suitable for both, irritable bowel syndrome with symptoms of diarrhea or constipation, probiotic supplements are an appropriate treatment. They are used to improve the microbiota or intestinal flora and improve the intestinal composition in these bacteria.

Are antidepressants effective for irritable bowel?

Antidepressants must be prescribed by a medical specialist and the person who takes them must go to the periodic controls.

Sometimes studies reveal that there are other medications that are more effective than others and for this reason the doctor or psychiatrist must periodically assess the patient situation.

According to some studies, fluoxetine has not been shown to be effective in the treatment of irritable bowel. Other types of antidepressants such as tricyclics and paroxetine have reduced evidence to improve abdominal pain.

Self-medication is dangerous without medical control.

* Related information:

Natural treatment for irritable bowel with constipation

Diet for irritable bowel with constipation

Natural treatment for irritable bowel with diarrhea

Diet for irritable bowel with diarrhea

Prohibited food for irritable bowel

Recommended food list for irritable bowel

punto rojo More information on irritable colon and its natural treatment.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.