Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

You can buy IBS treatments from our UK registered online doctor and pharmacy service. IBS is one of the most common conditions of the digestive system. Around 10-20% of people in the UK suffer from it. Symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation. Some people will experience mild symptoms, while others experience severe symptoms that affect their quality of life. 

With Simple Online Pharmacy, our online doctors can provide prescription-strength treatments like Mebeverine, Colpermin, and Colofac. Once you have completed the online doctor consultation, our doctor will review your assessment and prescribe medication if it is appropriate. Our pharmacy will then dispense and deliver the prescription to your door.


You can also buy IBS medication over the counter from our online shop, like Buscopan IBS Relief.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) treatment options

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    Colpermin

    Order on Monday to Friday until 3:30pm guarantees next day delivery options

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    Colpermin

    Prices From £16.95
    As low as £0.15 / Capsule

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    Colofac

    Order on Monday to Friday until 3:30pm guarantees next day delivery options

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    Colofac

    Prices From £10.95
    As low as £0.11 / Capsule

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    Mebeverine

    Order on Monday to Friday until 3:30pm guarantees next day delivery options

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    Mebeverine

    Prices From £9.95
    As low as £0.09 / Tablet

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Overview

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common and often lifelong condition that affects the digestive system. It consists of stomach pain or discomfort often accompanied by changes in bowel habits. The cause is not known and there is no cure for IBS. 

It is twice as common in women compared to men. Estimates say between 10% to 20% of people may suffer from IBS in the UK. Symptoms tend to begin in teenagers and young adults, although people of all ages can be affected.

Causes

IBS Causes

The specific cause of IBS is not known but a lot of research is being conducted to help us understand the condition. 

When we eat food it travels through several organs which make up the digestive tract. The body uses smooth muscle spasms or contractions to push the food through the digestive tract. In people with IBS, these contractions are often more severe.

These contractions can give rise to discomfort, cramping or pain in the stomach. It can also cause diarrhea or constipation.

Research into the condition has shown that some patients have overly sensitive nerves in their digestive system. This may make them feel stronger pain sensations compared to healthy people. This sensitivity of the nervous system may also make them more sensitive to even normal contractions of the digestive tract.

Some research has shown that contracting an infection called gastroenteritis may increase your risk of developing IBS. There is also some evidence to suggest a family history of IBS increases the risk of getting the condition.

Stress and diet are other important factors that can worsen or improve symptoms of IBS.

Treatments

Treating IBS

Medication for IBS

There are several types of IBS medications in the UK that work in different ways to ease different symptoms. Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome might include a combination of medicines.

Antispasmodics are used to relieve abdominal pain and cramping. IBS tablets like Mebeverine and Colpermin capsules (peppermint oil for IBS) are examples of antispasmodics. In our shop section, you can buy another antispasmodic called Buscopan, which contains the active ingredient hyoscine.

Laxatives can help patients who suffer from constipation. Fybogel Mebeverine sachets contain a laxative as well as the antispasmodic mebeverine. Other laxatives can also be used such as Laxido and Lactulose.

Anti-diarrhoea medicines can help patients who suffer from diarrhoea. Loperamide (generic Imodium) is the most common of these and is effective at stopping diarrhoea. If you are suffering from diarrhoea you must keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You can see our other diarrhoea treatments here.

Diet

The biggest step to ease symptoms is to ensure you follow a healthy, balanced diet as demonstrated by the NHS Eatwell guide.

The Eatwell Guide is a general guide with suggestions for the whole population. Some people with IBS may have to adjust it to add or remove foods that agree or disagree with their stomachs.

Other tips include:

  • Don’t eat meals too quickly, making sure to chew your food well
  • Keep regular mealtimes, avoid skipping or delaying meals when possible
  • Avoid eating late at night
  • Avoid fizzy drinks or alcohol and limit consumption of tea and coffee to under 3 cups a day
  • Keep a diary of what you eat and your symptoms to help identify your triggers
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water a day

The IBS Network website has other useful tips.

A low FODMAP diet is a specific diet sometimes used to help IBS patients. It is a diet that restricts certain types of carbohydrates which can trigger symptoms in sensitive individuals. These specific carbohydrates are not absorbed in the small intestine, leading the bacteria in our large intestine to ferment them. This fermentation process can cause or worsen many symptoms of IBS.

The FODMAP diet can be very effective at improving symptoms for some patients. Speak to a dietician before following the diet to make sure you still consume a full range of nutrients. There is also an app called the ‘FoodMaestro FODMAP’ that can provide further information.

The NHS has a video that provides more information on IBS and diet, including information on FODMAP.

Stress

High-stress levels can often worsen or trigger symptoms. Patients may find reducing stress levels improves their symptoms and/or reduces how often symptoms flare up. Your doctor may recommend psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for IBS. These can be especially helpful if symptoms are triggered by stress and anxiety.

You can find stress-busting tips on the NHS website.

Exercise

Exercise may be beneficial to help reduce stress levels and may improve constipation symptoms by improving digestion. See the NHS website for information on physical activity guidelines for adults.

Probiotics

Some patients may find probiotics improve their symptoms. Currently, more research needs to be conducted to test how effective probiotics are in IBS. However, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) describes probiotics as ‘a reasonable self-management option for people with IBS’. Some experts suggest trying probiotics for a month to see if they help.

If patients try probiotics, they should use them for at least four weeks before expecting to see results.

Symptoms

IBS Symptoms

There are several signs and symptoms which indicate you may be suffering from IBS. 

This includes symptoms like stomach pain, discomfort or cramping which is often helped by passing stools. Other symptoms include changes in bowel movements, bloating, nausea, tiredness, flatulence, and incontinence. These symptoms can affect a person’s quality of life. Over the long term, they may result in psychological problems like depression and anxiety.

Some people find they switch between having diarrhoea and constipation with IBS. People may find their symptoms are made worse by eating.

FAQ

How can I calm an IBS flare up?

The most common treatments to provide symptom relief for a flare up are peppermint oil capsules or mebeverine. But the treatments used will depend on the symptoms experienced. 

Can foods trigger IBS?

Some people may find certain foods trigger IBS symptoms or attacks. Trigger foods can be different for different people but some common ones include fatty or spicy foods, pulses, and processed foods.

Can IBS go away?

IBS is a chronic condition so may not go away completely. However, using medication and changing lifestyle habits can improve your symptoms and reduce the frequency of attacks.

Can I access disabled toilets if I have IBS?

Patients can purchase a ‘Radar key’ from places such as the IBS network website or the Disability Rights UK website. This key allows access to many public disabled toilets and is useful for patients who suffer from diarrhoea or incontinence due to their IBS.

Colpermin

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
300 £43.95
200 £31.95
100 £16.95

Colofac

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
200mg M/R Capsules (Twice Daily) x120 £17.95
200mg M/R Capsules (Twice Daily) x60 £10.95
135mg Tablets (Three Times Daily) x200 £21.95
135mg Tablets (Three Times Daily) x100 £12.95

Fybogel Mebeverine

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
Fybogel Mebeverine x 10 Sachets £6.75

Mebeverine

Medication Simple Online Pharmacy
135mg-tablets-three-times-daily x100 £9.95
135mg-tablets-three-times-daily x200 £18.95

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Treatment Comparison

ColperminColofac / MebeverineFybogel Mebevine
Active Ingredients0.2ml Peppermint OilMebeverineMebeverine / Ispaghula Husk.
MechanismUnclearAnti-spasmodic.Anti-spasmodic and bulk forming laxative
DosageONE capsule THREE times dailyNormal Release: Take ONE THREE times daily --- Slow Release - Take ONE tablet TWICE daily.Usually ONE sachet TWICE daily