MYTHBUSTING: There's No Treatment for IBS, Right?

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By Laura Tilt
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Let's clear the air on this one: while IBS may be a long-term condition with fluctuating symptoms, it's not a dead-end road. It’s true there isn't a cure for IBS. However, that doesn't mean you're left high and dry. There are lots of things that can help ease symptoms, so they don't hijack your quality of life.  

Exploring Treatment Options 

So, what are the things you can try?  

  • Simple Dietary Changes: Tweaking your diet by adjusting things like caffeine, alcohol and fibre can make a surprising difference.  
  • Lifestyle Changes: Including regular exercise and finding ways to manage stress can be a key part of symptom management for lots of people with IBS.  
  • The Low FODMAP Diet: A low FODMAP diet is a type of elimination diet which reduces FODMAPs, a specific group of carbohydrates known to trigger symptoms. Studies show it can ease symptoms in about 50-70% of people with IBS. 
  • Medications: From tackling abdominal pain to managing diarrhoea, there are medications out there designed to target specific IBS symptoms. Speak to your GP to find out what options are available. 
  • Psychological Therapies: Cognitive behavioural therapy (a type of talking therapy) and gut-directed hypnotherapy have both been shown to offer meaningful symptom relief in people with IBS. These therapies can be particularly useful if you notice that stress or anxiety are a trigger for your symptoms, or dietary changes aren’t possible for you.  

Making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle is the first recommended step to managing IBS, and you might be surprised how effective they can be.  

About 40 per cent of people with IBS see a meaningful improvement in their symptoms when they make simple changes, and you don’t necessarily need to book an appointment with a dietitian to give them a go. If you want to learn what these are, check out this handy factsheet from the British Dietetic Association.  

Have you already been diagnosed with IBS and are ready to start an elimination programme? Click below to see if you're eligible for our new FODMAP elimination programme.