Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Helped By Changes In Diet?

Sufferers of I.B.S. habitually find that their symptoms get worse after they’ve eaten – not really such a surprise. Symptoms can be made much more intense by certain types of foodstuff.

Not everybody responds to the same food the very same way – a number of foods may make symptoms flare in one person, but not another. That’s why physicians do not advocate certain diets. But through trial and error, many people find that they feel improved when they stop eating certain food. Such foods can cause intestinal contraction which can make I.B.S. worse, especially if the primary symptom is diarrhea.

For many people, careful eating reduces irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. If you keep a daily record you can see which foods tend to cause the most symptoms. Always discuss your results with your general practitioner.

You may also want to consult a registered dietician who can help you make changes to your diet. For example, if dairy products cause your symptoms to flare up, you can try consuming less of those foods. You may well be able to tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products simply because it includes bacteria that supply the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk products.

Of course dairy is a good source of calcium, amongst other things. If you need to avoid dairy products, be sure to get adequate nutrients in the foods you substitute, or take supplements.

In many cases, dietary fiber may lessen I.B.S.  symptoms, in particular constipation. Fiber, on the other hand, won’t help with diarrhea or reducing any pain levels you might have.

If you’re searching for a good source of fiber look to things like vegetables, whole grain foods (specially bread and cereals) and fruits. High fiber diets keep the colon mildly distended, which may help prevent spasms. Some fiber also helps to keep your stool softer and easier to pass, by helping the stool retain water.

General practitioners tend to recommend enough fiber in your diet to help cause painless, easy bowel movements. For some people there is a side effect of gas and bloating, but it tends to go within a few weeks. If you gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat that will help minimize the risk of bloating and gasses.

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! Gasses 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.

Large meals can cause cramping and diarrhea, so eating smaller meals more often, or eating smaller portions, may help I.B.S. symptoms. You can also benefit from low-fat higher carb 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. Also limit the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylitol often used in sugarless gum and sugarless candy.

Fats are pretty powerful stimulants to your G.I. tract – they can cause constipation and diarrhea. They do this by causing rapid spasm or contractions – similar to a ‘charley-horse’ – in the colon and that’s why they can cause constipation or diarrhea. The foods that seem to be the biggest triggers for I.B.S. are generally high in saturated fats. Foods like red meat, fried food and dairy products. Meat, dairy, and egg yolks also have proteins that are very difficult for the body to digest. Try to have your meals in peace and take your time – don’t dash your food. It’s better for you to eat slowly.

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