Is IBS helped by a change in diet?
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Numerous people find that their Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms become worse after they eat. For some sufferers particular types of food can and do make it worse.
Not everybody reacts to the same food the identical way – some foods could make symptoms flare in one person, but not another. That’s why medical professionals do not recommend specific diets. Some Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers find that not eating certain foods assists them to feel better – generally determined by simple trial and error. These foods may cause the intestines to contract, which can aggravate IBS in people who have looseness of the bowels as their primary symptom.
A careful eating plan can reduce symptoms for many I.B.S. sufferers. Prior to modifying your diet, keep a log noting the foods that appear to result in distress. Always discuss your results with your general practitioner. You may want to seek advice from a registered dietician who can help you make changes to your diet.
If a food group, like dairy, makes your symptoms worse, try to reduce how much you consume. Yogurt is sometimes easier to digest when compared to other dairy – it has bacteria which help to digest lactose, found in milk products. Dairy products are an important source of calcium and other nutrients. If you need to avoid dairy products, be sure to get adequate nutrients in the foods you substitute, or take supplements.
Constipation, one of the possible symptoms of I.B.S. can be eased in some cases with dietary fiber. Fiber, conversely, won’t help with diarrhea or decreasing any pain levels you may have. Whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables are great sources of fiber. A high-fiber diet keeps your colon a little bit ‘full’ and that can help to prevent colonic spasm. Some forms of fiber keep water in the stool, thereby preventing hard stools that are difficult to pass. Generally speaking you should have enough fiber in your diet so that bowel movements are easy and painless. High fiber diets may cause gas and bloating, although some people report that these symptoms go away within a few weeks. Increasing fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams per day will help reduce the risk of increased gas and bloating.
It’s also important to make sure you drink enough plain water, particularly if you’re suffering from diarrhea, which tends to dehydrate you. Sodas are not a substitute for water! Gassiness can also increase if you eat too quickly, or chew a lot of gum. That’s because you end up swallowing air, which has to escape somehow.
You may find that you can improve or reduce your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms just by eating smaller meals more frequently. Large meals can sometimes cause diarrhea and cramping so switching to smaller meals can be helpful. You can also benefit from low-fat higher carbs meals like rice, whole grain foods, pasta, vegetables and so on.
Limit or eliminate foods that may make diarrhea worse, including caffeine, alcohol, foods high in sugar, fatty foods, gas producing foods such as beans, cabbage, and broccoli, and the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylitol often used in sugarless gum and sugarless candy.
Fats of all kinds are also triggers for constipation as well as diarrhea, because fats are a very powerful GI tract stimulant just like insoluble fiber. Fats can cause the same type of rapid spasms or “charley horse” muscle contractions in the colon, and again result in either diarrhea or constipation. The foods that seem to be the biggest triggers for IBS are generally high in saturated fats. Foods like red meat, fried food, dairy products. Meat, dairy, and egg yolks also have proteins that are very difficult for the body to digest.
As often as you can, eat slowly and in a calm environment to prevent any stress.
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