If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), your doctor might say, "I think you could use an antidepressant."
To which you might say, "I’m not depressed."
You might start feeling pretty low after you’ve taken a ride on the merry-go-round of "logic" behind the use of antidepressants for IBS.
Long shot…no payoff
According to the Mayo Clinic website, antidepressant drugs "inhibit the activity of neurons that control the intestines." And the WebMD website claims that low doses of antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft can help relieve intestinal spasms, bloating, etc.
Okay…that seems like a long shot, but we’ve seen this before. Mainstream medicine types often encourage drug experimentation with only the flimsiest notion of how patients might react.
But once this antidepressant treatment for IBS is set in motion, things might go off the rails quickly. Starting with this interesting warning from WebMD: "Some antidepressants may worsen constipation; others may worsen diarrhea."
Oh brother! As usual, it’s always an infuriating game of "bad news/worse news" with these guys.
In the case of constipation caused by antidepressants, the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (part of NIH) has a solution: "Some doctors will also prescribe medications that relax muscles in the bladder and intestines, such as Donnapine and Librax. These medications contain a mild sedative, which can be habit forming."
So let’s recap: You’ve got IBS. You’re not depressed, but you’re taking an antidepressant, which may cause a side effect that happens to be an IBS symptom, which you can relieve with a muscle relaxant that might be addictive.
Okay, we went from bad to worse. What’s next? Worst, of course!
Watch how all this nonsense comes around to make a complete circle: According to WebMD, Librax may cause constipation and abdominal bloating (again, IBS symptoms). And finally: "To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise."
And that three-part instruction JUST HAPPENS to be ideal advice for relieving IBS symptoms without drugs.
Must to avoid
If your doctor is dead set on experimenting with a prescription antidepressant for your IBS, he might not be very interested in discussing these common IBS symptom triggers:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Caffeinated beverages
- Inferior fats in processed foods
- Milk and other dairy products
- Refined sugar
- White flour
- Artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors
Also, laxatives should be avoided because repeated use can weaken your intestines.
But IBS care isn’t all about avoidance. Acupuncture, yoga, and massage have been shown to improve IBS symptoms in some patients. Peppermint supplements may relieve cramping and spasms.
Dr. Spreen also recommends probiotic supplements and suggests that doctors of IBS patients test for hidden, systemic yeast problems (also known as candidiasis).
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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