Posted: 10/12/2017

Have You Tried Valium (Diazepam) To Manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

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What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS) is a relatively common chronic health condition affecting the large intestine (colon). IBS can cause patients to experience severe cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, bloating and constipation. An estimated 10-15% of the world population has some form of IBS, and roughly 2 out of 3 IBS sufferers are female. An IBS diagnosis can also lead to secondary health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Unlike some forms of inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), IBS does not raise the risk of colorectal cancer or affect the bowel tissue, and some people can successfully manage their IBS symptoms with basic lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. For more severe cases, however, medication may be needed, and in some instances, doctors recommend an anti-anxiety medication like Valium (generic name diazepam) to treat IBS symptoms and any accompanying anxiety symptoms.

What Factors Lead to an IBS Diagnosis?

There is no single test for diagnosing IBS. Your physician will likely run several tests to rule out other ailments before offering an IBS diagnosis. Tests often include x-rays, blood tests and stool sampling. Some doctors may also recommend a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, particularly in patients over 40.

Most medical professionals will use a formal set of diagnostic criteria to determine the likelihood of IBS as the cause of symptoms. However, these criteria on their own are not necessarily accurate, as the symptoms could be caused by other related conditions. Therefore, the tests are used in conjunction with a physical exam and review of the patient’s medical history in order to ensure a more accurate IBS diagnosis.

What Causes IBS?

The root cause of IBS is unknown. However, experts speculate that there are certain triggers which may lead to the development of symptoms. These include infections, diet and inflammations.

One theory is that when food moves through the digestive system too slowly or too quickly, it can lead either to IBS with constipation or diarrhea, respectively. In terms of dietary triggers, consumption of highly processed, fatty or fried foods, or alcoholic, fizzy or caffeinated drinks may result in IBS symptoms.

Other theories include the possibility that a severe gastrointestinal (GI) infection may trigger IBS, or that some food sensitivities and allergies may make a person more susceptible to this condition. However, not all IBS sufferers have a history of food sensitivity or have suffered a severe GI infection prior to experiencing IBS symptoms, so these theories remain in the realm of speculation.

How is IBS Treated?

Because the root cause of IBS is unknown, when you receive an IBS diagnosis most treatments will focus on addressing the symptoms.  There is a wide range of medications which can be prescribed for those with an IBS diagnosis. Although there are medications specifically designed to relieve IBS symptoms, there are certain factors which may cause these medications to be ineffective. It is also possible that your doctor will not have access to them as there are strict regulations on their usage and approval is limited.

Therefore, it is common for other types of medication to be prescribed for an IBS diagnosis. These include fiber supplements, anti-diarrheal medications, anticholinergic and antispasmodic medications, antibiotics, and anti-anxiety medications including Valium (and its generic form, diazepam).

How Does Valium (Diazepam) Help Treat IBS?

There is a correlation between anxiety and IBS, and because of this, doctors will sometimes prescribe anti-anxiety medications such as Valium (diazepam) to help manage IBS symptoms. Anti-anxiety medications (classed as benzodiazepines) are most commonly used to treat panic attacks and anxiety symptoms. For patients with an IBS diagnosis, anxiety often manifests alongside the standard IBS symptoms and can make those symptoms worse.

For patients experiencing anxiety and depression as well as the abdominal symptoms of IBS, prescription medications like Valium (diazepam) can relieve overall symptoms, by alleviating stress and general anxiety. Stress, general anxiety and panic disorders can worsen gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms as the GI tract responds to subsequent changes in activity, diet and hormones. Patients dealing with ongoing (or even short term) stress have a heightened risk of developing other illnesses, including IBS.

Anti-anxiety medications like Valium (diazepam) work by diminishing the GI system’s reaction to stress and anxiety and any accompanying lifestyle changes. This can then lead to a reduction in the other IBS symptoms. Valium (diazepam) works by altering the brain’s neurotransmitters in order to address any abnormal levels of neurological activity that lead to seizures, muscle spasms and anxiety. This also helps the digestive system control the imbalanced functioning that can lead to constipation, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Valium (diazepam) does have some side effects; the most common include drowsiness, slurred speech, and dizziness.

While there are other types of medications which address the digestive symptoms associated with an IBS diagnosis, the benefit of recognizing this connection between anxiety and IBS is that it allows doctors to prescribe medications like Valium (diazepam) which can target the disorder from a neurological angle.

References

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/basics/

https://medlineplus.gov/irritablebowelsyndrome.html

http://www.ibsgroup.org/forums/topic/64636-diazepam-valium-in-treatment-of-ibs/

https://aboutibs.org/facts-about-ibs.html

 
By Bridget Randolph

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About the HelpRx.info Blog

HelpRx.info is staffed by experts in the prescription medication industry. Get the latest health, medical news and pharmaceutical news that can save you money and allow you to take charge of your healthcare. With frequent updates about the prescription drug industry as well as medicine news, you'll gain an insider look into the industry and learn more about how to get the best price on your prescriptions while not sacrificing quality.

About HelpRx

Our discounts provide you access to negotiated prices on your prescription drugs at your local pharmacy. We can provide these because we're partnered with OptumRx, a BIG pharmacy benefit provider that provides prescription coverage for MILLIONS of people like you.

About ScriptRelief

Script Relief, the creator of the NPSN card and HelpRx discounts, helps consumers save an average of 50%, and up to 75%, off their prescriptions.

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