How can I manage the pain?


Here are some self help methods we would recommend.

  • Bowel Directed Relaxation.

  • Deep steady breathing.

  • Listen to music.

  • Watch a film.

  • Phone a friend

  • Take a hot bath

  • Cradle a hot water bottle

  • Therapeutic massage.

  • Hypnotherapy, yoga and meditation.

  • Over the counter medications

Antispasmodic medication

Antispasmodic drugs relax the muscles of the gut, relieving the spasm and distension that causes pain. Some such as Buscopan and Merbentyl may have associated side effects such as a dry mouth and blurred vision and difficulty passing water.

placeholder Generic Name Brand Name
Hyoscine Buscopan
Dicyclomine Merbentyl
Alverine Citrate Spasmanol, Alvercol
Peppermint Oil Colpermin, Mintec
Mebeverine Hydrochloride Colofac


Although hyoscine and dicyclomine are strong antispasmodics, some patients may experience side effects with them.  These include dry mouth, blurring of vision and urinary retention.  

Antispasmodic medication can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacist.


“Low dose antidepressants can relieve IBS pain when analgesics fail.”

Pain that is resistant to antispasmodics may respond to treatment with low doses of antidepressants. This may be partly due to the alleviation of an underlying depression and partly because of a direct effect on pain pathways in the gut. Anxiety and depression can make people more sensitive to pain and can upset the bowels.

There are two classes of drugs.

Genric Name  Brand Name
  Amitryptyline Tryptizol
  Nortryptyline Doxepin
  Dothiepin Hydrochloride Prothiadin

* Tricylic antidepressants tend to make constipation slightly worse.

placeholder Generic Name Brand Name
Fluoxetine Prozac
Sertraline Lustral
Paroxetine Seroxat
Citalopram Cipramil

*SSRIs can make the bowels more loose and may be more useful in people with constipation.
Antidepressants can only be obtained on prescription.

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