that can help

As well as making changes to your diet and lifestyle to manage your IBS there are also treatments available for when you have a flare up, depending on your symptoms.

  • Abdominal cramps, pain and discomfort IBS sufferers say this is the most common symptom of IBS but it is often mistreated with painkillers or antacids. However, the pain of abdominal cramps is different from the pain of a headache or indigestion so it needs a specific treatment that targets the cause of the pain. IBS pain is often described as ‘stabbing’, ‘sharp’ and ‘intense’ (not ‘burning’ sensation like indigestion or heartburn) and it’s caused by spasms in your digestive tract.

    If you’re feeling the discomfort of abdominal cramps and pain, then try an antispasmodic medicine that targets the cause of the pain such as Buscopan® IBS Relief. It acts locally in your digestive tract to interrupt the signal which tells the muscle to spasm. This helps the muscle to relax, which quickly releases the pain and the digestive process can return to normal – helping you get on with your day.

  • Diarrhoea Perhaps one of the most inconvenient symptoms of IBS is diarrhoea. Always needing to know there is a loo close by, or in some cases not being able to leave home during an episode of diarrhoea – has this happened to you?

    Diarrhoea occurs when fluid cannot be absorbed from your intestines and this can happen for a number of different reasons. An estimated 27% of IBS sufferers have diarrhoea every time they have an IBS flare up.

    If you have diarrhoea then antidiarrhoeal medicines such as loperamide can help. They work by slowing down the passage of food in the intestine which allows more water to be absorbed and stools become firmer. Treatments like this can help take some of the stress out of not knowing when you will need the loo in a hurry.

  • Constipation is another symptom of IBS, but we all have trouble going to the loo sometimes and find it difficult or embarrassing to talk about. It actually happens to most of us at some point in our lives. If you're not passing stools as often as usual, you're straining, or having difficulty passing a stool, this is known as constipation.

    If you are constipated you might want to try a laxative like Dulcolax® Tablets* which works by stimulating the natural movement of your bowel. Visit our friends at and read stories about how other people feel, and get some simple, straight forward advice on constipation.

  • Bloating and flatulence Some IBS sufferers say the abdominal bloating caused by IBS can make them “look pregnant” by the end of the day and it’s not always easy to deal with flatulence (wind) when you’re with friends or colleagues! Over half of IBS sufferers say they always have bloating when their IBS flares up.

    If you have bloating and flatulence, then you may want to try an antiflatulence treatment, such as simethicone, which can help to reduce the pressure of trapped wind and help you feel more comfortable in your clothes.

*Dulcolax 5mg Gastro-resistant Tablets contain Bisacodyl. Always read the label.

IBS treatments are available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets and you can always ask your pharmacist if you need further advice.

Making changes to your lifestyle can also have a beneficial effect on your IBS symptoms. Reducing your stress levels, adapting your diet and taking some exercise (if you have time) are all achievable. Take one step at a time, it doesn’t matter how little, as small steps add up and could make a big difference to how you feel. Read our Top Tips section for help and advice.

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