Irritable bowel syndrome or (IBS) effects millions. Doctor’s aren’t sure what causes IBS. Muscles and nerves in the bowel are extra sensitive in people with IBS. Usually when people experience IBS it’s after a meal. At times when eating the muscles in the bowel may contract. This is what can cause stomach cramping or diarrhea. The good news is that IBS doesn’t cause damage to the colon or digestive system. However, it can lead to other health problems down the road. You will know that you have IBS if you are noticing white mucus in the stool, a swollen or bloated abdomen or the feeling that you are not done after making a bowel movement. To test you to make sure you have IBS your doctor may use an x ray of the large intestine. They can also try a colonoscopy, which is a long thin tube that is put into your anus. The doctor can view the inside of your colon to see if you have IBS. Alosetron blocks serotonin in the intestines. It slows the movement of stools through the intestines. Your doctor will prescribe the medication for you if you have chronic or severe irritable bowel syndrome. This can occur if you are having diarrhea for at least 6 months. Alosetron is usually only given if other IBS medications have failed. It also is only prescribed to women as it has shown no effect in men with IBS. You should never start taking Alosetron if you are currently constipated. If you took Alosetron the day before and are constipated, stop taking the medication and call your doctor. Some patients who have taken Alosetron have had fatal side effects on the stomach or intestines. You should discontinue using Alosetron if you are experiencing worsening constipation, stomach pain, bloody diarrhea or blood in your stools. While these conditions sound scary, when it works Alosetron works very well. It can reduce the stomach pain and discomfort associated with IBS. Most patient notice a difference within the first week or two of treatment. You may not be able to use Alosetron if you have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or diverticulitis. Alosetron is usually taken orally with a full glass of water, with or without food. Laxatives will treat constipation associated with IBS. Antispasmodics can be taken to control spasms in the colon and ease abdominal pain. Unfortunately there is no cure for IBS but there are several things you can do to relieve or prevent the symptoms. Besides the medicine I mentioned above you can make simple changes to your diet. Eliminate dairy products and fatty foods from your diet. Caffeineted soda’s and drinks can also cause IBS. Replace that with a fiber rich diet and your on your way to being IBS free. Eating small but frequent meals can also help prevent IBS symptoms. You can also participate in classes or ways of life to relieve stress. You may notice that the less stressed out you are the less cramping you may feel in the abdomen.

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