Seeing a dietitian for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
A GP may refer you to an NHS dietitian if general diet tips for IBS, such as avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms, are not helping.
They can suggest other changes you can make to your diet to ease your symptoms.
Low FODMAP diet
A dietitian may recommend a diet called a low FODMAP diet.
This involves avoiding foods that are not easily broken down by the gut, such as some types of:
- fruit and vegetables
- wheat products
Watch a video guide from NHS dietitians
Our 35-minute video guide can help you learn more about managing your symptoms.
It's similar to the advice you'd get if you saw a dietitian.
The guide covers things like:
- general diet tips for IBS
- advice on certain types of food, like dairy and gluten
- basics of the low FODMAP diet
- allergy testing
If you want to see a dietitian privately, make sure they're registered with the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
IBS medicines from a GP
If pharmacy medicines are not helping, a GP may prescribe a stronger medicine, such as:
These are antidepressants, but they can also help ease IBS symptoms.
They may take a few weeks to start working and can cause side effects.
A GP may refer you to a specialist if you have severe symptoms and other medicines have not helped.
Psychological therapies for IBS
If you have had IBS for a long time and other treatments are not helping, a GP may refer you for a talking therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
This can help if stress or anxiety is triggering your symptoms. It can also help you cope with your condition better.
You can also refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.
These offer psychological therapies like CBT for common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.
Support from The IBS Network
The IBS Network is the national charity for people with IBS. It provides information and advice about living with IBS and offers an online forum.
Page last reviewed: 24 February 2021
Next review due: 24 February 2024