Diet Tips For Patients With IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder worldwide. Despite that, many people never seek treatment for their IBS either because they have not been medically diagnosed or because they are unaware that their symptoms even point to IBS. Below, we will discuss 6 IBS diet tips for alleviating the uncomfortable symptoms.

What is IBS?

First off, what is IBS? IBS a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. The condition affects more women than men. IBS can also be referred to as spastic colon, irritable colon, mucous colitis, and spastic colitis. It is different from inflammatory bowel disease and isn’t related to other bowel conditions.

Symptoms of IBS

The symptoms of IBS typically include:

  • cramping

  • abdominal pain

  • bloating and gas

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • combination of constipation and diarrhea

Diet Tips for Patient with IBS

Sometimes symptoms of IBS can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes. If you are looking for a diet for IBS, what works for you will vary based on which IBS symptoms you present with. That being said, you can try managing your symptoms by using some of the following tips: 

Focus on High-Fiber Foods

For people with constipation, a high-fiber diet can help get things moving. Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can work to prevent constipation. If you start feeling bloated from increasing your fiber, add more fiber from fruits and vegetables and less from grains.

Lower Fiber in Your Diet

If you regularly experience gas or diarrhea as part of your IBS symptoms, an increase in fiber can worsen symptoms. Rather than eliminating fiber altogether, focus on soluble fiber, which dissolves in water and comes from sources such as apples, berries, carrots, and oatmeal.

Experiment with Food Elimination

Sometimes it’s hard to know what your triggers are, especially if you’re an adventurous eater or regularly change up your diet. Eliminating foods and keeping track of what you’ve eliminated is a great way to figure out which foods are triggering your IBS symptoms.

Avoid Dairy

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, some 30 million to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant, including up to 75 percent of African Americans and American Indians and 90 percent of Asian Americans. That being said, for many people, dairy products—especially cheese—can be a trigger for IBS symptoms.

Stay Away from Fat

High-fat foods can worsen symptoms of IBS and are especially bad for people who suffer from IBS with a combination of constipation and diarrhea. High fat foods are considered things like cheese, fried food, some meats, etc. Avoiding these foods and swapping them for lower-fat alternatives can help with relieving IBS symptoms.

Try a Low FODMAP Diet

FODMAP stands for "Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols”. FODMAP foods are types of carbohydrates that can cause inflammation in the digestive system and are difficult for your gut to absorb. Researching high and low FODMAP foods and knowing the difference can assist in managing your IBS symptoms, depending on if you experience diarrhea or constipation.

Diet has been shown to successfully manage symptoms associated with IBS for many people. Talk to your doctor about which diet may be right for you based on your unique symptoms and dietary needs. If you are experiencing symptoms of IBS, but haven’t yet been diagnosed, call the IBS specialists at Colorectal Clinic of Tampa Bay today.