How to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Diseases & Conditions

How to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Diseases & Conditions

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not a life-threatening problem but it can alter your lifestyle drastically. Women are more likely affected by this condition and it can be experienced during their late teens to the early 40s. IBS tends to affect bowel habits drastically. One can experience discomfort or pain while passing stools. Your bowel habits are likely to change completely from less or more than normal which can be diarrhea or constipation. The texture of the stool may be thin, hard, soft or liquid.

Some common symptoms of this condition are as follows:

  • Bloating or a lot of gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps/ belly pain
  • Pellets or flat ribbon stools (i.e. hard or loose)

Common things that activate IBS are:

  • Refined grains that are used to make bread and cereals
  • Processed foods
  • Coffee, alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Dairy products like cheese
  • High protein diets
  • Stress-related activities like work, commuting, family problems, financial issues
  • Medicines that evoke this condition are antibiotics, some antidepressants and sorbitol included medicine like cough syrups
  • Eating in a hurry while working or driving
  • Chewing gum regularly
  • Not exercising enough

It is a well-known fact that a proper diet and consumption of the right food helps control IBS to a great degree. Here are some of the diets prescribed for IBS patients.

High fiber diet

Fiber adds bulk to your stools that helps aid the movement. It is estimated that an adult consumes only 5 to 14 grams of fiber per day. Eating 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day is an essential way to manage IBS. Foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are high in fiber that helps prevent constipation.

Low fiber diet

People with regular gas and diarrhoea might find it difficult with the high intake of fiber as it can worsen the symptoms. An increase in fiber intake could result in some amount of bloating then shift to soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables and not grains. Food produce like apples, berries, carrots, and oatmeal are good sources of soluble fiber.

Gluten-free diet

If you are intolerant to gluten you are more likely to experience IBS. Gluten is abundantly found in foods like bread and pasta that are consumed in high quantities. Eliminating rye, barley and wheat completely can help control IBS to a large effect. Look for gluten-free versions of your favorite breads and pastas at health foods and grocery stores.

Elimination diet
Eliminating any food that you find suspicious from your diet for 12 full weeks will help in deciding the food that helps your condition. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFDG) recommends 4 types of foods to avoid for IBS condition:

  • Nuts
  • Coffee
  • Insoluble fiber
  • Chocolate

Low-Fat diet

Choosing your food based on fat content can help with IBS conditions drastically. Focus on lean meats, grains, vegetables, and fruits along with low-fat dairy products.

Low FODMAP diet

FODMAPS (Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are carb foods non-digestible by the intestines since they pull more water into the bowel. People with IBS condition are likely to experience gas, bloating, and other abdominal issues post the consumption of these foods. Avoid foods like:

  • Lactose
  • Few fruits like peaches, watermelon, mangoes
  • Legumes, Sweeteners and high fructose syrups
  • Wheat-based bread, cereals, and pasta
  • Nuts like cashews and pistachios
  • Vegetables like artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, onions