Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) treatment available online today

Request irritable bowel syndrome treatment today from our trusted, board-certified primary care doctors and get relief today. Get a new prescription or refill for IBS online.*

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*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor's discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how to save up to 80% with our prescription discount card. PlushCare doctors cannot treat all cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Our primary care physicians can conduct an initial evaluation of your symptoms but may need to refer you to a specialist, notably a gastroenterologist (GI doctor) or for in-person treatment. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the digestive system, specifically, the large intestine, or the colon. It is also sometimes called irritable colon, spastic colon, or spastic colitis. As many as 1 in 5 adults have displayed signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It is a functional gastrointestinal disorder. Functional gastrointestinal disorders are caused by issues with gut-brain interaction. The neurotransmitter serotonin, for example, is present in both the brain and the digestive system. Anxiety, depression, even stress & sleep issues (insomnia) can lead to IBS in some cases. 

IBS is typically classified as one of three categories:

  • IBS-C

    • IBS-C is characterized by constipation.

  • IBS-D

    • IBS-D is characterized by diarrhea.

  • IBS-M

    • IBS-M, sometimes also referred to as IBS-A, is characterized by a mix of both constipation and diarrhea.

IBS causes

The exact cause of IBS is unknown. Possible causes include family history, sensitivity in the colon or immune system, damage from bacterial infections, or miscommunication between the brain and gut. Anxiety and depression have been linked to IBS. You can discover certain things that trigger symptoms, often related to diet and lifestyle factors. Discovering your own triggers so that you can avoid them is often the best way to start improving your symptoms.

Common triggers to consider include:

  • Certain foods

    Certain foods or diets can lead to recurring IBS. Your doctor may test you for celiac disease. It may benefit you to keep a food diary to better track what is being eaten before periods of discomfort. Your doctor may recommend a low-FODMAP diet, which helps eliminate a variety of food types with fermentable oligosaccharides. These sugars can flare IBS symptoms in many people. 

  • Dietary changes

    Weight loss, or a drastic change in dietary habits can lead to discomfort in your bowel movements. Other food types including FODMAPs, dairy, and gluten can affect patients with IBS.  

  • Stress

    Stress & other mental health conditions can cause symptoms of IBS. Your nervous system controls many of your digestive tract functions, and high levels of emotional stress or a particularly stressful event may increase sensitivity in your colon.

IBS symptoms

  • The symptoms of IBS can vary in duration and intensity from person to person. Symptoms may occur frequently, or only a few days every month. The symptoms can include: 

    • Changes in motility (diarrhea or constipation, in some cases alternating between both) 

    • Bloating or distention of the abdomen – especially after eating 

    • Abdominal pain and cramps which may be relieved after bowel movements 

    • Urgency 

    • Excess gas 

    • Feelings of incomplete emptying

    • Changes in the appearance of your stool

    • Mucus in your stool 

How to treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)

Your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan for your IBS symptoms. This may involve keeping a food log to identify triggers and certain dietary patterns and replacing them with other foods. They may also recommend home remedies and over-the-counter IBS treatment. Many types of prescription medications may also help your symptoms may also be recommended by your doctor. You may also consider seeing our licensed therapist's mental health management that may be able to ease symptoms, as IBS is often caused by brain-gut miscommunication.

IBS medication

Treatment with medications is largely grouped into medicines to help constipation, diarrhea, or both. Other symptoms including bloating can also be targeted. Common prescriptions our doctors write for IBS are: 

  • Antispasmodics

    Smooth muscle relaxants to combat cramping. Medications include:

    Bentyl (Dicyclomine)

    Hyoscyamine (Levsin)

  • Antidepressants

    Certain antidepressants have been shown to provide relief from chronic abdominal pain. Medications include tricyclic antidepressants such as: 

    Norpramin (Desipramine)

  • Ostmotic Laxatives

    Polyethylene Glycol (MiraLAX) is a low-cost, safe, and effective means to improve constipation in many patients with IBS.

  • Lubiprostone

    Lubiprostone is a long-acting chloride channel activator, which means it helps increase activity of fluid secretion into the GI tract. This can help improve constipation in patients who do not respond to MiraLAX, for example.  

  • Guanylate Cyclase Agonists

    Linactolide (brand name Linzess) and plecanatide (brand name Trulance) are both medications that can help increase intestinal fluid secretion and improve constipation.  

  • Antibiotics

    Rifaximin (Xifaxan)

    Rifaximin (Xifaxan) has been shown to help improve symptoms in moderate to severe IBS without constipation that fails to respond to other therapies. It notably may improve bloating symptoms.  

  • 5-HT3 Antagonists

    Lotronex (alosetron hydrochlorid

    This is a very strong drug only prescribed to women with severe, refractory IBS-D. It is a selective serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist that acts on the gastrointestinal tract, slowing the movement of fecal matter and increasing the absorption of water in the large intestine.

How to prevent IBS

Learning what triggers your IBS can help you prevent IBS symptoms. If you're unsure of what your triggers are, speak to a doctor to come up with a treatment plan to identify and avoid the IBS triggers that make your symptoms worse. Our doctors can also prescribe medication to make symptoms manageable.

When to see a doctor for irritable bowel syndrome

If you are experiencing severe pain or severe symptoms that make it hard to complete daily life tasks, speak to one of our board-certified doctors about treatment options, including referrals to specialists in person. They can begin to help diagnose IBS symptoms and work with you to create a customized treatment plan, including lifestyle changes and prescription medication, if needed.

IBS treatment FAQs

  • What is the most effective treatment for IBS?

    Treatment for IBS will depend on what is causing your symptoms. For many, identifying triggers and making subsequent diet changes brings relief, while others may find the aid of medication helpful. 

  • What helps IBS immediately?

    You can try natural remedies such as stress management and mindfulness, moving around, drinking tea, or applying heat to relieve IBS pain. However, if you need further help managing IBS pain and symptoms, speak to a doctor about a treatment plan. 

  • Can doctors prescribe anything for IBS?

    Yes, there are several prescription medications that can effectively treat IBS symptoms, and our doctors can prescribe them online after a consultation. Some prescription medications known to help include antispasmodics and, in some cases, antibiotics. In certain situations, individuals may explore the option of obtaining an antidepressant prescription online as part of their personalized and convenient approach to managing IBS symptoms.

  • How do you know if you have IBS?

    IBS is classified as a chronic condition meaning it tends to stick around. That said, with proper management many IBS patients live normal and healthy lives. 

  • How is IBS diagnosed?

    An in-depth medical history is often the first step toward an IBS diagnosis. Laboratory testing to rule-out inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis may also be helpful. Speak to one of our doctors today to discuss your symptoms and find clarity today.

  • How do you get IBS to go away?

    IBS is classified as a chronic condition meaning it tends to stick around. That said, with proper management many IBS patients live normal and healthy lives.

  • What foods usually trigger IBS?

    Certain foods, referred to as those containing FODMAPs, may contribute to IBS symptoms. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols. Other foods that could trigger symptoms include dairy, spicy foods, fatty foods, alcohol, coffee, and foods with a lot of fiber. Talk to a doctor to discuss your triggers and find the best diet for you.

  • What is the best diet for irritable bowel syndrome?

    Your diet may be a main driver or your IBS, identifying which foods and drinks are causing you trouble is the first step to creating an IBS friendly meal plan. General advice tends to steer IBS patients away from caffeine, alcohol, high sugar foods, lactose, beans, and cruciferous vegetables and says to eat more whole grains, low sugar fruits such as bananas, lactose free milk, spinach, carrots and yams.

  • What over the counter drugs are available for irritable bowel syndrome?

    Over-the-counter medications can't address the underlying cause of IBS, but they can manage some symptoms. The first step is always getting a proper diagnosis–IBS symptoms can be confused with other GI diseases. IBS can have various triggers, and the best treatment depends on the specific type (diarrhea-predominant, constipation-predominant, or mixed). Here are some common types of over-the-counter medications that may be helpful depending on your IBS symptoms:

    Fiber supplements: Different types of fiber can have opposite effects on IBS. Soluble fiber (like psyllium husk - Metamucil) can help add bulk to stool and improve regularity for constipation-predominant IBS. However, some people with IBS find soluble fiber worsens their bloating or gas. Insoluble fiber (like wheat bran) may not be as helpful for constipation and can also worsen bloating and gas in some people with IBS. A doctor can help you determine the best type of fiber for your specific needs.

    Laxatives: For occasional constipation, over-the-counter laxatives like polyethylene glycol (Miralax) or bisacodyl (Dulcolax) can provide temporary relief. However, overuse can lead to dependence.

    Antidiarrheals: Loperamide (Imodium) can help slow down diarrhea, which can be beneficial for diarrhea-predominant IBS. But it shouldn't be used for long periods or if you have a fever or bloody stool.

    Our board-certified physicians are available 24/7 for convenient telemedicine consultations. Within an hour, you can discuss your symptoms, receive a diagnosis, and get a treatment plan. Our online doctor appointments are available with or without insurance, and we accept most major plans.

3 simple steps to request treatment for IBS today

Step 1: Book an appointment

Step 1

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Step 2: Visit with a doctor on your smartphone

Step 2

Talk to your medical provider regarding your IBS symptoms.

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Step 3: pick up at local pharmacy

Step 3

Pick up prescription for IBS treatment, if advised by your doctor.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

Related conditions to irritable bowel syndrome

IBS treatment pricing details

How pricing works

To request irritable bowel syndrome treatment and get a new or refill on your prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

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Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
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Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

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PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.