Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Although there is no cure for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), there are many options available for treating and eliminating its symptoms.

Because stress and feeling mentally or emotionally tense, troubled, angry or overwhelmed can stimulate intestinal spasms in people with IBS, your doctor may suggest relaxation techniques, such as yoga, exercise and meditation. Tranquilizers and anti-depressants also may relieve symptoms. In addition, a healthy diet that includes lots of water, fiber and small meals may reduce flare-ups.

Fiber supplements or occasional laxatives may help with constipation, while medicines to decrease diarrhea and control intestinal muscle spasms may help reduce abdominal pain.

Medications available to treat IBS specifically include the following:

  • Alosetron hydrochloride (Lotronex) can be used for women with severe IBS who have not responded to conventional therapy and whose primary symptom is diarrhea. However, even in these patients, it should be used with caution because it can have serious side effects, such as severe constipation or decreased blood flow to the colon.
  • Tegaserod maleate (Zelnorm) is typically given on a short-term basis to women with IBS whose primary symptom is constipation.
  • Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers


Colitis and Crohn's Disease Center
1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 353-7921
Fax: (415) 502-2249
Appointment information

Gastroenterology at Mount Zion
1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 502-4444
Fax: (415) 502-2249
Appointment information

Gastroenterology at Parnassus
350 Parnassus Ave., Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 502-2112
Fax: (415) 514-3300
Appointment information

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