Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome, often referred to as IBS, is an illness which affects the digestive system. People who suffer from IBS usually experience ‘flare ups’. These flare ups can be caused by certain foods irritating the gut. There is no cure, but there are many ways you can change your lifestyle to help the condition. At Medicine Direct, we stock a range of treatments to help settle IBS symptoms, which you can order from our online pharmacy after an online consultation with a certified doctor. Browse our range of medicines below.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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  1. Colpermin IBS Relief Capsules 100 - Medicine Direct UK
    Colpermin IBS Relief 100 Capsules
    From As low as £19.99
    • Contains peppermint oil
    • Gentle and fast acting
    • Relieves cramps, bloating and trapped wind
  2. Apercap Peppermint Oil Capsules - Medicine Direct
    Apercap Peppermint Oil Capsules
    From As low as £17.99
    • Relieves IBS Symptoms
    • Gastro-resistant capsules
    • Peppermint is the most effective treatment for IBS
  3. Alverine Citrate
    Alverine Citrate
    From As low as £32.99
    • Relaxes the muscles in the gut
    • Used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
    • Effectively reduces stomach cramps
  4. Fybogel Mebeverine
    Fybogel Mebeverine
    From As low as £6.99
    • Very high in natural fibre
    • Helps to promote natural bowel movements
    • Relieves spasms and cramps in the gut
  5. Buscopan Cramps
    Buscopan Cramps
    From As low as £3.99
    • Relieves pain and discomfort caused by abdominal cramps
    • Begins to work in just 15 minutes
    • Relax the gut and eases symptoms caused by IBS
  6. Buscopan IBS Relief
    Buscopan IBS Relief
    From As low as £3.99
    • Effective treatment for IBS
    • Relieves abdominal pain and cramps
    • Works by relaxing the muscles within the gut
  7. Mebeverine Hydrochloride Tablets (135mg)
    Mebeverine Hydrochloride Tablets (135mg)
    From As low as £18.99
    • Relaxes the muscles in and around the gut
    • Eases the pain and cramps caused by IBS
    • Works fast to ease symptoms

    Please note brand received may vary

  8. Senocalm IBS Relief
    Senocalm IBS Relief
    From As low as £5.99
    • Eases stomach cramps
    • Helps with bloating
    • Provides effective pain relief

What is IBS? (Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Disease)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition that affects your digestive system, creating symptoms like stomach pain, cramps, diarrhoea and constipation. While the exact cause of IBS is unknown, it is believed to be related to food passing through the digestive system too quickly or too slowly, stress, family history and oversensitive nerves.

People with IBS will normally have it for the rest of their lives, which can have a significant impact on your daily life – from the food you eat to dealing with the discomfort.

There is currently no cure for IBS, but there are several medications available to help ease the symptoms. Cutting out certain foods and making certain lifestyle and diet changes can also help to make life easier for sufferers. This allows you to carry on with life as normal, with minimal disruption from your condition.

IBS Symptoms

The symptoms of IBS differ for each person. Generally, IBS causes painful cramps after eating, diarrhoea or constipation and bloating, where your stomach feels uncomfortably full. IBS sufferers may also notice an increase in flatulence and mucus in their stools. If you suffer stomach cramps but feel better after a bowel movement, these could also be symptoms of IBS.

Other symptoms may include backache, problems urinating (such as needing to urinate more often or feeling like you cannot fully empty your bladder), nausea and incontinence.

Most people will experience fluctuations in their symptoms over days. Those with IBS may be able to discover a pattern of ‘flare-ups’, to find out what their triggers may be. Common triggers include alcohol, caffeine and spicy or fatty foods.

Understanding which foods are classed as a ‘FODMAP’ can help sufferers exclude complex sugars from their diet which have been found to cause flare ups.

What causes IBS?

What causes IBS is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a variety of factors.

The most common risks which are associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Powerful antibiotics
  • Increases in stress levels
  • A reduction of bacteria in the colon
  • Food passing too quickly through your intestines
  • Family medical history

Oversensitive nerves in your intestines


Irritable bowel syndrome can be very frustrating to live with. If you are exhibiting IBS symptoms, it is important to go and visit your doctor. Your doctor will go through a procedure to diagnose your symptoms. For instance, they will ask about the frequency of your symptoms and how long you have had them. They may also organise a blood test to rule out other illnesses, such as coeliac disease.

If you have any of the below symptoms, you should ask for an emergency appointment to see your doctor – they could be symptoms of a more serious condition:

  • You have swelling or a hard lump in your stomach
  • You have lost weight for no reason
  • You have rectal bleeding or bloody diarrhoea

You have shortness of breath, pale skin or heart palpitations

IBS Treatment

There are a variety of IBS treatments available in the UK. For the prevention of bloating and gas, Senocalm IBS relief capsules are popular. The pills contain peppermint oil and simethicone, which is gentle on the stomach and can be an effective preventative IBS medicine for many people.

Antispasmodics are also commonly prescribed in the UK to relieve IBS. Tablets such as Mebeverine, Alverine Cirate and Buscopan IBS relief all belong to this group of medicine. They help to relax the stomach muscles. By relaxing the muscles, cramping is reduced and bloating may also be relieved.

You can also buy antispasmodics in sachet forms, such as Fybogel Mebeverine. In fact, Fybogel also helps IBS sufferers as it contains ispaghula husk, which can help you to go to the toilet and pass stools more easily.

Buy IBS Medication from Our UK Online Pharmacy

Our online pharmacy stocks a range of IBS pills. First, you will need to fill out a consultation form. Then, one of our doctors will review your application and prescribe the most appropriate medicine for your symptoms.

We offer a wide range of over the counter and prescription medication that provides effective IBS relief. If you order from our online pharmacy by 2pm, we can offer you free next day delivery on your medication.

IBS Pain Relief

By making certain lifestyle changes, many sufferers find their IBS symptoms are much easier to live with. Firstly, you should try and keep a food diary to keep track of any patterns of triggering foods.

It is advised to try and always cook homemade meals with fresh ingredients. Do not avoid meals in an attempt to reduce cramps. You should still eat as normal. Plenty of exercise has been found to help some people with IBS, as well as taking probiotics.

If you are embarrassed about an increase in flatulence or are looking for a way to treat your bloating, some changes to your diet can have a big impact. Eating porridge more regularly and trying to add around a tablespoon of linseed into your diet a day is beneficial. Avoid any food which is hard to digest; this includes vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beans, onions and dried fruit. Avoiding fizzy drinks will also reduce your risk of excessive gas, which can irritate your IBS symptoms.

What are antispasmodic medicines?

Antispasmodic medicines help to lessen your IBS symptoms by relaxing the muscles required to digest your food properly. Peppermint oil capsules are a form of antispasmodic medication, which help to soothe the muscles in the bowel and make them relax.

Why is IBS treated with laxatives?

A common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is constipation. If you are suffering from constipation, your doctor will likely prescribe you a laxative treatment to help you to go to the toilet more frequently. This will help to relax your bowel and relieve your symptoms. It is important that you remember to keep hydrated by drinking lots of water while taking laxative medicines; this will stop you from becoming dehydrated through excessive fluid loss, and stop the medicine from obstructing the digestive tract. Do not take laxatives before you go to bed.

IBS is giving me diarrhoea – what are my options for treatment?

Diarrhoea is a common symptom of IBS. Antimotility medicines such as loperamide are common prescription medicines to help stop diarrhoea. This medicine slows down the digestive system by slowing the digestive muscles, making waste foods solidify to a regular stool. This makes it easier for you to have normal bowel movements.

How do antidepressants help to treat IBS?

If your doctor has prescribed you an antispasmodic medication that has not proved to be effective, they may try to improve your symptoms by using a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). This medication reduces your nerves' activity within the digestive tract, easing pain and stomach cramps.

Your body needs up to four weeks to get used to a tricyclic antidepressant, which means that the medicine will only be effective after this initial period. Side effects may include constipation, blurred vision, fatigue and dry mouth, although not everyone will get them; these side effects should stop after the first few days of using the medicine.

Speak to your doctor if these side effects bother you or do not go away. Your doctor will prescribe you a much lower dose of antidepressant as a treatment for IBS symptoms than if you had depression. If you are prescribed this type of medication, it does not mean that you have any form of mental health problem.

At what point should I see my GP?

If any of the common IBS symptoms (diarrhoea and constipation, stomach cramps or pain, wind, bloating) affect you on a regular basis, or you notice a pattern of when they occur, you should make an appointment to see your GP.

To make sure you are not suffering from a more serious condition, make an emergency appointment to see a doctor if:

  • You have swelling or a hard lump in your stomach
  • You have lost weight for no reason
  • You have rectal bleeding or bloody diarrhoea

You have shortness of breath, pale skin or heart palpitations

What kinds of tests will my GP recommend?

You will probably only receive additional tests if your symptoms are unusual or severe. Some IBS symptoms are similar to more serious conditions, so you may be referred to a specialist by your doctor if they see anything that concerns them. This will vary depending on your age, overall health and the symptoms you are exhibiting.

If you are over the age of 50 and have never been screened for colon polyps and cancer, a colon examination may be performed. You may also have a colon exam if you are younger but are suspected of having inflammatory bowel disease or any other serious conditions. Your doctor might perform a biopsy if you have persistent diarrhoea. This exam removes tissue from the body to be examined.

Lactose intolerance can also create symptoms that are similar to those of IBS; lactose intolerance can easily be diagnosed with a lactose breath test. Coeliac disease has similar symptoms to IBS, which is diagnosed by a blood test; this can then be confirmed by having a biopsy of the small intestine. Any of these problems can coexist with IBS, so your doctor will determine whether to treat both at the same time or give another condition priority over irritable bowel syndrome.

Can IBS lead to more serious medical conditions?

While it is not known what causes IBS, it is not linked to any other conditions. If your symptoms seem to be getting worse, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible; you may have developed a more serious condition that is not related to irritable bowel syndrome.

What can I do to ease my IBS symptoms?

Aside from taking the medication you are prescribed by your doctor, certain lifestyle changes can help to ease your condition. Cutting down on alcohol and caffeine can drastically improve your symptoms. Drinking fewer fizzy drinks will produce less gas, which can irritate your condition and cause discomfort. Taking plenty of exercise and cutting down your stress levels are also great ways of improving your symptoms.

What other changes should I make to my diet?

Certain foods, such as spicy or fatty food can also exacerbate your condition, so try to cut out these and eat meals that are prepared with as many fresh ingredients as possible. Do not eat late at night and try to eat smaller portions. Do not delay or skip meals, and do not eat too quickly.

Can allergies cause IBS?

If you think you have a digestive problem as a result of an allergy, speak to your doctor. An allergy to certain foods will not cause IBS.

How long do IBS episodes persist?

IBS episodes will normally last for a few days at a time, although some people will find that the symptoms never fully disappear.

How can I calm an IBS flare up?

Do not eat any trigger foods and avoid caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks. Be sure you take your medication as instructed by your doctor.

Are bloody stools a normal symptom of IBS?

A functional disorder like IBS means that food is not digested properly. IBS will not cause structural damage like bleeding, cancer or inflammation. If you have blood in your stools, this may be a sign of other inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis. Speak to your doctor if you notice blood in your stools.

Can I access disabled toilets if I have IBS?

The IBS network can issue you with something called a 'can't wait card', which is widely acknowledged and accepted by stores, restaurants and public places throughout the UK. It is the same size as a bank card and helps you to gain access to the nearest available toilet when you need it the most. While it does not guarantee that you will be allowed into a disabled toilet with this card, it is widely recognised, meaning it increases your chances.

Doctor Notes

Medicine Direct have an experienced clinical team of doctors, pharmacists and dispensers, all of whom are based in the UK. All are fully trained and qualified to provide appropriate and considered care across all areas of treatment we have available at our online pharmacy.

This means that no matter which member of our team is assigned to your case, you can rest assured that you are in the hands of a highly skilled medical professional, who possesses the compassion and clinical expertise to properly advise you on the best course of treatment.

We are fully regulated

All of our doctors and pharmacists are fully registered with both the General Medical Council (GMC), MHRA and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Each member of our team has also worked in various clinic settings in the past, such as community pharmacies and NHS hospitals.

Sonia Khan Medicine Direct Pharmacist

Sonia Khan
MPharm: 2076091


This content has been written by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan and has been medically reviewed by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh

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