Is there a cure for IBS?
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.