Self-Care for Every IBS Symptom

As you have probably found out the hard way, the amount of IBS relief that you can get from your healthcare provider is pretty limited. Although there has been some progress in terms of developing medications for IBS, most medications just address a certain symptom rather than providing overall relief.

This is unlike many other disorders in which healthcare providers write out a prescription and the patient gets better. What all this means for you is that you will have to put some effort into finding strategies and remedies that work for you.

Young woman holding a mug standing on a balcony
Simon Winnall / Getty Images

Of the many confusing things about IBS, one of the most puzzling is the fact that the same disorder can cause urgent diarrhea for some people and debilitating constipation in others.

Given that, and the fact that everybody is different from the next, things that help your best friend might not work for you. You may need to try a wide variety of strategies and remedies before you see some symptom relief.

The following guides are offered to help you in your quest to feel better. You can click through to the ones that best relate to the symptoms you are experiencing. If you are curious, click through them all to see if you find an extra tip that might just work for you.

IBS Pain

A common thread among most people who have IBS is the experience of pain, either in certain spots or throughout the abdomen. This pain that can cover a whole gamut from a dull ache, to persistent cramping, to debilitating pain that can make it impossible to function. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to soothe yourself when the pain strikes.

IBS Attacks

When IBS strikes hard and fast, learn how to deal with an IBS attack.

Abdominal Pain Relief

Discover some simple strategies for soothing your abdominal pain, no matter how it manifests itself.

Gas Pain Relief

Learn how to ease gas pain quickly when you know that your IBS pain is being caused by excessive gas.

IBS Self Care by Predominant Symptom

IBS can be classified into three separate sub-types: constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C), diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D), and alternating type irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-A). 

Although all three share the common symptom of abdominal pain, they differ in terms of the dysfunction in gut motility. Thus, the strategies that will be most helpful for you will depend on your predominant symptom.

Constipation Predominant

If you have IBS-C, your gut motility is too slow. You will want to be thinking about things that will help your system to move stool along more quickly. Learn about over-the-counter remedies that may be helpful, provide you with some dietary advice, and teach you a few self-care tricks.

Diarrhea Predominant

If you have IBS-D, your motility is too fast. Your aim here is to do things that will help your digestive system to calm down and function more smoothly. Discover what is going wrong, as well as dietary recommendations and strategies for self-calming.

Alternating Bowel Symptoms

IBS-A may just be the most maddening form of the disorder. How can it be that your system can have crazy diarrhea one day and then not have another bowel movement for days? Or you have weeks where you are dealing with diarrhea episodes, followed by weeks where nothing is moving.

You can't find any rhyme or reason behind the fact that your system malfunctions in both ways. The goal with IBS-A is to work toward helping your body to not swing between the two extremes. Review some self-care tips, dietary advice, and supplement recommendations that can be helpful for this odd combination of constipation and diarrhea.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Peyton L, Greene J. Irritable bowel syndrome: current and emerging treatment options. P T. 2014;39(8):567-578. PMID. 25136255

  2. UpToDate. Patient education: Irritable bowel syndrome (Beyond the Bascis).

  3. Saha L. Irritable bowel syndrome: pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and evidence-based medicine. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(22):6759-73. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i22.6759

  4. Jadallah KA, Kullab SM, Sanders DS. Constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: a review of current and emerging drug therapies. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(27):8898-8909. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i27.8898

  5. Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of BOS-589 in the Treatment of Patients With Dirarrhea-predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

  6. National Institutes of Health. Definition & Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.