Is there a cure for IBS?

Chat - - ASK DR MARTIN -

QI suf­fer bouts of stomach pain, bloat­ing and di­ar­rhoea. My spe­cial­ist says it’s ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome (IBS). What can I do? Maura, Cly­de­bank

AIBS af­fects more than one in 10 of us, but no one knows the cause – some­times it fol­lows a stomach bug, and some­times stress will trig­ger or worsen it.

Symp­toms are due to over-ac­tive bowel mus­cle and might mean di­ar­rhoea, con­sti­pa­tion or both, the need to rush ur­gently for a poo, and pain or bloat­ing that im­proves af­ter go­ing.

The right diet will help con­trol symp­toms. Usu­ally, this means high fi­bre, par­tic­u­larly sol­u­ble fi­bre such as oats, while avoid­ing trig­ger foods – th­ese vary and might in­clude gluten, dairy prod­ucts, nuts or cit­rus fruits. A di­eti­cian can work out what’s right for you.

Drugs to relieve di­ar­rhoea or con­sti­pa­tion, or to re­lax bowel mus­cle, can help, and pep­per­mint oil might relieve bloat­ing.

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