Symptoms, Treatment and Medication for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)   between 25 and 45 million people in the United States are affected by irritable bowel syndrome. Of those, 2 in 3 are female.  While most people with IBS are under 50 years of age, older people may be suffering from IBS as well.

Here are more facts about irritable bowel syndrome:

    • Stress is not a cause of IBS.
    • IBS attacks are unpredictable, with symptoms presenting as anything from diarrhea to constipation.
  • Approximately 20-40% of all visits to gastroenterologists are due to symptoms of IBS.

(Fact source: IFFGD)

How is IBS diagnosed?

Anyone suffering from bowel discomfort should seek medical attention.   In order to make a clear diagnosis of IBS your doctor will first run tests to rule out any other possible medical conditions. After that your doctor will use one of three diagnostic criteria to further diagnose IBS:

Manning Criteria:  These criteria focus on the changes in stool consistency, mucus in the stool, pain relief experienced by passing stools and having incomplete bowel movements.

Rome Criteria: These criteria focus on the pain the patient experiences, including pain and discomfort related to defecation, abdominal pain and discomfort experienced which may have been ongoing for at least one day per week in the last 3 months.  It also looks at how regular defecation frequency and stool consistency has changed.

The Type of IBS:   There are three types of IBS – constipation-predominant, diarrhea-predominant and mixed.

Your doctor may also order imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, and/or a colonoscopy to rule out other causes of your abdominal pain.

What are the Symptoms of IBS?

    • Weight loss
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Fever
    • Anemia
    • Abdominal plain not relieved by bowel movement
  • Nausea and/or recurrent vomiting

Prescription Zaxine for the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Zaxine is the Canadian equivalent of Xifaxan.  Both contain the active ingredient rifaximin.

One of the most popular prescription medications for IBS is Xifaxan®.  Manufactured by Salix, this strong antibiotic is used to fight intestinal bacterial infections.  Unlike other antibiotics, it is not absorbed into the blood stream, so the active ingredient, rifaximin, only treats the infection in the intestinal tract, not other parts of the body.

Zaxine is available in 550 mg tablets.

Zaxine is also a known treatment for travelers who have eaten food contaminated with E. coli bacteria.  Known as “travelers’ diarrhea”, this condition presents with symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, bowel pain, and fever.

Zaxine is a prescription medication for irritable bowel syndrome.

    • Zaxine  can be taken with or without food, and must be taken as prescribed by your doctor.
    • It is important not to take Zaxine  in smaller or larger amounts than prescribed or stop before the medication is completed without speaking to your doctor.
    • Do not skip doses.
    • If your symptoms do not improve within 24-48 hours, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
    • Store Zaxine at room temperature and away from heat and moisture. 
    • Do not share this medication with anyone, regardless of their symptoms. 
  • Tell your doctor about other prescription medications you are taking to ensure Zaxine is safe to take, including heart or blood pressure medications, antifungal medications and other antibiotics, as well as any other prescriptions, non-prescription medications, and supplements.

Lifestyle changes to help treat irritable bowel syndrome

While prescription Zaxine for irritable bowel syndrome offers relief, there may be some changes that can be made in day to day living to help ease symptoms for some patients:

    • Eat smaller meals
    • Avoid stress
    • Avoid caffeine
    • Add more fiber to your daily diet
    • Drink more water
  • Reduce or limit dairy intake

Further information on Zaxine can be found at the following link: Learn More

if you have questions about your prescription or non-prescription medication, please contact the team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784) or visit their website at One of the friendly and discreet pharmacy representatives will be happy to answer your questions.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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