University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Gastroenterology Q&As

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Are The Treatment Options For IBS?

Question:
I have been suffering from severe stomach pain for the past 4 years. An endoscopy, ultrasound and colonoscopy came out clean and I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Two years ago, the pain was so severe that it made me cry. Now, the pain is tolerable, but it hasn't stopped. The frequency still remains the same, about once per month. Is there a way that I can be pain free? I am currently using Buscopan® to treat my IBS. Please help!

Answer:
IBS is a disorder of the lower intestinal tract that involves abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements. Emotional stress is a common trigger to intensify symptoms of IBS. Treatment for IBS is aimed at relieving symptoms, as the condition may be lifelong. Medication, such the one you are currently taking, can help. Dietary lifestyle changes are also a common treatment, as regular exercise and improved sleep habits may decrease the frequency of pain experienced. Changes in diet can also be helpful, but beneficial dietary changes vary greatly from person to person.

I recommend that you consult with a Penn gastroenterologist to determine possible treatment options to alleviate pain associated with IBS. Anna Buchner, MD, PhD, would be happy to meet with you. To make an appointment, please call 800-789-PENN (7366) or request an appointment online.