Monday, 11 January 2016

Healthy foods for IBS sufferers

IBS, the acronym for irritable bowel syndrome, is a functional disorder of the bowel. This condition is one of the most common clinical conditions that have an incidence of about 15% in the U.S.A compared to other abdominal diseases.

Irritable bowel syndrome sufferers’, experience primary symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and regular bouts of constipation. Secondary symptoms include abdominal bloating, vomiting and nausea, presence of mucus in stool, swollen abdomen and passage of flatus.

Because its real cause is unknown, IBS has no one treatment regime. Treatment aims at relieving the symptoms. Some doctors prescribe laxatives for diarrhea or to relive constipation. To relive abdominal upsets, patients are given pain killers.

According to the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences, complications associated with IBS can be eased by a change in dietary habits. Some theories suggest adding fibers to the diet or reducing fiber depending on whether the patient has diarrhea or constipation; can be effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Although dietary changes have not been known to cure IBS entirely, some patients experience relief with a change in their dietary choices and regular exercise routines. So, most physicians recommend it to a number of their clients.

Change in dietary habits means eating a healthy more balanced diet and most importantly, avoiding the possible triggers. Below we outline possible triggers for the two main symptoms of IBS namely constipation and diarrhea as outlined by medical website

1. Diet triggers for constipation
There are some foods that can worsen your case of IBS constipation. These are;

  • Refined cereals and bread
  • Refined snacks such as chips, cookies etc.
  • Carbonated drinks ,coffee and alcohol
  • A regular high-protein diet
  • Lactose-containing products such as Dairy products
How to ease constipation?
-The ideal way to ease constipation is by gradually increasing your fiber diet that you increase your daily fiber intake up to 35grams.Whole grain bread, cereals, fruits and vegetables are good fiber sources.
-Also, foods with high levels of sorbitol such as prune juice and plums can help ease constipation.
-Drink lots of water up to 8 ounces a day.
-Dry flaxseed when sprinkled on salads and cooked vegetables can help with constipation.

2. Possible diet  triggers for Diarrhea
  • If you have diarrhea, these are the possible triggers to look out for;
  • If you have diarrhea, too much fiber from fruits and vegetables can be harmful. Consume fruits and vegetables in moderation together with other foods.
  • Avoid drinks and foods with caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, fructose or sorbitol
  • Avoid all carbonated drinks
  • Reduce your meal proportions to 5 small meals a day
  • Avoid fatty fried foods
  • Avoid dairy foods or lactose –especially if you are lactose intolerant.
  • Gluten can be a possible cause of diarrhea if you are allergic, so look out for gluten free wheat products.
How to ease diarrhea
  • Consume a moderate amount of soluble fiber. This adds bulk in the colon and helps to stop spasms. Oats, whole grain wheat bread, barley, pasts, brown rice, fresh and dry fruit are good sources of healthy fiber.
  • Avoid eating foods and drinks at extreme temperatures either too cold or too hot. Room temperature meals are advisable.
  • Avoid cabbage, broccoli and onions-they are gaseous and can make your diarrhea worse.
  • Divide your meals into smaller portions throughout the day.
  • Take a lot of water up to 8 glasses a day. But take an hour before or after meals.
  • If you suspect you have wheat allergy, you can consult your doctor for diagnosis.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, consuming dairy products will only make you gaseous. Try a lactose-free diet and foods that produce a lot of gas such as Brussels sprouts, beans, wheat germ, celery and raisins.
  • Increase your sodium and potassium levels that get lost when you diarrhea. You can replenish these minerals by eating fruits such as avocados, bananas, nectarines, fish, peach and apricots, mashed or boiled potatoes.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects people differently. Some may experience diarrhea, other constipation and an array of other symptoms. While there is no real cure for IBS, we have seen above a change in dietary choices, how and when we eat can make a big difference. Eating a little more or less fiber can go a long way in easing discomfort.

Although the cause of IBS has been linked to small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, it has equally not been scientifically proven. Even so, some patients experience good results when antibiotics are administered. Similarly, IBS should not be confused with small intestine bacteria overgrowth-which is a condition caused by overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines just as the name suggests.

But until the main cause of Irritable bowel syndrome and cure are found, all we can do now is ease the complications. A healthy balanced diet and avoiding possible triggers is a good place to start.

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