Diet Treatment For IBS
For many IBS sufferers, diet modification can reduce symptoms. However, many patients are affected by different foods and experience differing combination of symptoms, so it’s important to be aware of which foods you can eat with less difficulty and which foods seem to cause extra discomfort. A good option is to keep a journal in order to pinpoint problem foods, and then consider appropriate changes with your dietitian or nutritionist.
Diet Modification to Relieve IBS
Here are a few general tips about how food changes may reduce symptoms. For specific advice about your personal condition, please ask your dietitian.
The Role of Soluble Fiber in the IBS Diet
Soluble fiber typically helps alleviate all symptoms of IBS, including diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramps and gas. Soluble fiber also benefits blood-glucose levels because it regulates the rate at which food leaves the stomach. It also reduces hunger or appetite pangs. In addition, soluble fiber also decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and may reduce colon cancer.
How Soluble Fiber Benefits Diarrhea and Constipation
As it dissolves in water in the gut, soluble fiber forms a thick viscous gel which absorbs excess water as it passes largely intact through the intestinal tract. This reduction in water helps reduce diarrhea. In addition, the bulky fibrous mass gives the gastrointestinal muscles something to “grip” during peristaltic contractions (the movements that push food along the intestinal passage). Typically, this prevents the rapid transit time and uncontrollable bowel movements characteristic of diarrhea.
This process also alleviates constipation. Instead of causing strain and abdominal pain by trying to squeeze dry, compressed stools along the colon, the gastrointestinal muscles are able to gently manipulate the full gel-filled colon to a more rapid and controlled conclusion.