Medications for IBS symptoms – what’s worked for me

Jun 23, 2017 | Basics, Resource

I’ve been meaning to write this post forever, because I sort of feel like I’m lying to y’all otherwise. Being all “yeah the low FODMAP diet cured me!” when that’s only part of it. While I wish I didn’t have to take any medications for my IBS symptoms, I only take two things which really is very low. It’s a pretty low maintenance regimen, all things considered, and the good news is that following the low FODMAP diet plus taking these to things does keep my symptoms under control!

But first, a disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietitian, nutritionist, or anything of the sort. I’m just a girl who’s discovered what’s worked for her, and so today I’ll talk about what that is in hopes that you can be informed when discussing with your doctor about what can work for you!

Alright, so let’s get to it!

#1: Probiotics

Ok so probiotics aren’t even something you need a prescription for, but they’re a pill I take every morning so I include it in my list of meds.

The first thing you needs to know when talking about probiotics is that not everything labeled “probiotic” is the same. In a few words, probiotics are good bacteria that help our body function. There are about a bajillion different strains of these good bacteria (exact number there guys), and so not just any “probiotic” pill is going to help with digestion specifically. I take Align (which has the strain Bifidobacterium infantis if you’re curious) – it’s a bit expensive but I’ve tried cheaper alternatives and they really don’t work as well.

(For more info about probiotics, head to Nutrition Stripped, a blog I love for simple nutritional information!)

How it helps (me)

I find that taking probiotics keeps everything functioning and moving smoothly (yeah, literally). When I don’t take these (like if I run out… that never happens.), I don’t notice immediately; the difference is more of a “man, my body is working well and I don’t even have to think about it” versus “hm, I’ve felt kinda crummy all week.”

Dosage

Pretty easy, I just take one pill every! I don’t think they need to be taken with food or anything.

Side effects

None that I’m aware of.

Where to get it

I buy my Align on Amazon because it’s way cheaper, but you can also buy it at drugstores, and I think Target carrys it too. This is a bit pricey, but like I mentioned, this works way better than anything else for me. Prices on Amazon vary but a 6-week supply runs about $30.

#2: Hyoscyamine

There’s a fun name for ya. Pronounced hi-oh-sigh-ah-mean, this little guy is an antispasmodic, which literally means it keeps my gut from spazzing out. I started taking this even before I’d been diagnosed with IBS, during a very stressful end of the semester of Senior year. I was feeling miserable all the time and out of desperation asked my mom to talk to our family doc back home and see if there was anything she could give me. She gave me a pretty high dosage and I hadn’t started the low FODMAP diet yet, so I was a pill with every meal and sometimes more to get me through. I started noticing that I was feeling especially tired & lethargic, and that on top of the stress of finals was really not a good combo – I swung pretty close to depressive state (I know at this point you’re thinking “wait, and you’re telling me you still take this stuff?!?” Hang in there friends). Once I realized it was the medicine making me tired, I was able to get a smaller dosage from the doctor which still helped my symptoms and didn’t make me tired all the time – win!

How it helps (me)

These things give me life. I keep the bottle in my purse at all times. I find it helps me with bloating and that churning feeling I get after I eat otherwise (which makes sense, that’s my intestines spazzing out, and this stuff makes them chill). If I forget to take this I’ll usually notice 30 mins to an hour after I ate that my stomach feels uncomfortable, and definitely if I don’t take it for extended periods it gets worse.

Dosage

I take one pill right before I eat lunch and dinner (I don’t really have digestive problems after breakfast for whatever reason). Occasionally when my stomach is in a particularly bad mood (this usually happens mid-day for me), I’ll pop another one for sanity’s sake. Just for reference, the pills I take are .125 mg (I think it’s a child’s dosage, lol).

Side effects

Like I mentioned above, this can cause drowsiness for some people. Just to reassure you though, when I told my doctor that this was making me tired she was really surprised, so I don’t think it’s super common. Luckily scaling back my dosage fixed everything!

Where to get it

You’ll need a prescription for this one guys! I just get it from my family practitioner. It’s super cheap (I do have decent insurance) – a bottle of 120 pills is like $3 or something.

Phew! Thanks for reading! I know that was a lot of info, so feel free to comment if you have any questions!

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