Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers, Prevention (cont.)

4. Drugs That Can Trigger IBS

Some drugs can trigger spasms of the colon and symptoms of IBS. These spasms can lead to constipation or diarrhea.

  • Antibiotics, especially after prolonged use

  • Antidepressants

  • Medicine containing sorbitol, such as cough syrup

Prevention Strategies:

  • Talk with your doctor about switching to a drug that won't worsen your IBS symptoms. Don't stop taking a drug without consulting with your doctor.

  • If an antidepressant is worsening your diarrhea or constipation, talk with your doctor about switching medicine. Older antidepressants (called tricyclic antidepressants) can cause constipation. One type of newer antidepressant (called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which include Prozac and Zoloft) can cause diarrhea. Your doctor can help you find an antidepressant that will not worsen your IBS symptoms.

5. Menstrual Triggers for IBS

Studies show that women with IBS tend to have worse symptoms during their periods. There's not a lot of information about preventing this type of trigger, but doctors may recommend certain strategies to ease pain and discomfort during your period.

Prevention Strategies:

  • Oral contraceptives. Some brand names are Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Lo/Ovral, and Alesse. These drugs can regularize periods. Side effects may include upset stomach, vomiting, stomach cramps or bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Work with your doctor to find a pill that works for you without causing side effects.

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) drugs. These include drugs also used to treat depression, such as Sarafem, Paxil CR, and Zoloft. PMDD is a severe form of PMS. These drugs adjust levels of serotonin, a brain chemical thought to be out of balance during certain phases of a woman's cycle.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Constipation Question: If you have IBS-related constipation, what are the triggers? What dietary changes have you made?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Diarrhea Question: Do you get IBS-related diarrhea? Discuss the triggers and dietary changes you have made.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Stress and Anxiety Question: Does stress or anxiety trigger your IBS? What changes have you made to alleviate these triggers?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Other Triggers Question: Discuss the things that trigger symptoms of IBS and ways you try to prevent recurrences.

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