Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an uncomfortable and inconvenient disorder that can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, loss of appetite, bloating and sometimes constipation. One of the best things you can do for IBS is modify your diet, which can reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. How much you modify your diet will depend on the severity of your particular case of IBS as well as the variance of your symptoms. If you only experience the consequences of irritable bowel syndrome once or twice a month, small changes to your diet may get rid of it altogether.
One of the main problems with the decision to modify your diet is that different people experience different results concerning irritable bowel syndrome. For some people, eliminating dairy products from their diet is enough to chase away all symptoms of IBS, while others have to be more stringent about what they eat. If you find, after trying the suggestions here, that you are still suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, you might ask your doctor to help you come up with a diet that will suit your needs. You can also consult a nutritionist or dietitian for more specific diet modifications.
As mentioned above, dairy products is one of the leading causes of IBS. Milk, ice cream and eggs can serve to increase the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, so try to keep dairy products out of your diet. If you enjoy drinking milk or eating ice cream, consider purchasing the soy equivalent to help ease the pain your bowels. Some people observe that yogurt doesn’t irritate their stomachs, so you might try eating a serving of yogurt for breakfast to see how you feel. Yogurt replaces the body’s naturally-occurring bacteria in the stomach, which can actually help ease bowel problems.
It is important that you get at least the recommended dose of fiber every day for your weight and caloric intake. Fiber helps to distend the colon, which may ease spasms and reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. You don’t want to overdo it because significant doses of fiber can increase bloating, which won’t help your IBS. Rather than taking fiber supplements, eat lots of vegetables, whole grains and fruits. Some people have reported an increase in IBS symptoms from eating apples, but all other fruits should be okay.
In some cases, the frequency of your meals will have an impact on irritable bowel syndrome. WebMD.com advises individuals with IBS to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep the gastrointestinal tract in balance with the rest of the body. This keeps you from passing large amounts of food at one time and will also decrease secondary effects of IBS, such as heartburn. Avoid eating large meals in one sitting, as this can lead to both diarrhea and constipation.
One of the major complaints of people with irritable bowel syndrome is an increase in “gas pockets” in the stomach and bowels. The pain associated with gas pockets can range from mild to severe, and can often cause increased stomach cramps. You might feel as though you need to use the restroom, but are unable, which is why beans and other gas-causing foods should be avoided. If you do suffer from gas pockets with relation to irritable bowels, try taking over-the-counter medications like Gas-X and Pepcid AC.
Sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome also have to be careful what they drink. Juices and carbonated sodas can lead to IBS, so try to drink non-acidic drinks that won’t inflame the bowels. It is recommended that you drink at least forty ounces of water each day, so if you’re on the run, keep a bottle of water with you at all times to avoid dehydration, which can cause IBS.
No one should suffer from irritable bowel syndrome on a daily basis, so try keeping a journal to document what you eat and when you start to feel cramps or bloating. This might not be a pleasant exercise, but it can help you and your doctor figure out which foods are leading to IBS and how they can best be avoided. Once you’ve documented your IBS symptoms for a few weeks, make an appointment with your physician to discuss your options.