I thought I would share some important facts IBS sufferers should keep in mind, whether you’ve just been diagnosed or you’ve known for a while:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder.
There are four types of IBS based on how your GI Tract (the series of organs that complete the digestive process) eliminates waste. The four types include: IBS-C (where the C stands for constipation), IBS-D (diarrhea), IBS-A (alternate, which means experiencing symptoms of both the previous types), and IBS-U (unsubtyped, lesser but still prominent symptoms of the first two types).
- IBS can have emotional and psychological symptoms as well.
Unfortunately, IBS sufferers are more likely to experience anxiety. More research is being done on this syndrome; however researchers have found that increased levels of stress usually accompany this diagnosis. Additionally the physical symptoms of IBS can cause embarrassment for some. Luckily there are ways to cope and relieve these symptoms.
- IBS is a combination of symptoms.
There are ways to relieve IBS symptoms with simple lifestyle changes. This may include follow a low FODMAP diet, taking probiotics and fiber supplements, and adding more exercise into your weekly routine. Physicians may also prescribe some medications.
- It’s not sure what causes IBS.
According to the Mayo Clinic, IBS can be caused by a combination of poor diet, abnormal serotonin levels, or even an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. Some sufferers experience different triggers that can worsen symptoms. Experimenting to figure out what types of foods are activities relieve your symptoms is advised.
- IBS can be caused by poor diet.
Not only is junk food well, junk, but it could be exaggerating your IBS symptoms. Highly processed snacks and drinks contain artificial sweeteners, food additives, and are usually low in fiber. This combination can leave IBS sufferers feeling bloated, cramped, and having an even more difficult time in the bathroom. Cut back on junk food and you might even start seeing results today. For those with more extreme symptoms, remove the unhealthy options from your diet altogether.
- Conversely, some veggies can negatively affect IBS too.
Focus on eating a moderate amount of vegetables with soluble fiber rather than those with insoluble fiber. Avoid vegetables like cauliflowers, onions, garlic, sweet corn, asparagus, savoy cabbage etc. (which can cause gas and maybe worsen your symptoms) and favor instead cooked carrots and spinach (cooked vegetables contain more fiber than raw ones, interestingly enough).
To know what food is high and low in FODMAPs, visit this page.
- Be mindful of some fruit!
Apples, apricots, avocados, cherries, peaches etc. are too high on oligo-fructans and/or fructose and/or polyols and their intake should be limited or avoided.
- Drink lots of water.
This might be an obvious one but water really is important, especially for IBS sufferers. The typical daily amount of 6-8 glasses will suffice; just make sure you actually get it all down. This will help your system naturally flush itself out. And if you drink your water in the form of herbal tea you can relieve most of the painful cramps that often accompany IBS.
- Chew, chew, chew.
Eating consciously includes taking time to chew your food properly. This helps your body digest substances faster and more efficiently. It’s a very simple idea, but most of us don’t actually take enough time to do so. So relax and let yourself enjoy your meal-your GI Tract will thank you for it.
- Last but definitely not least: there are solutions out there for IBS sufferers.
Using some of the previously mentioned tips, consulting your doctor and simple lifestyle changes can show immediate improvement of your IBS symptoms.
Continue to read this blog for more information on IBS, on what low FODMAPs food are, how to find low FODMAP friendly recipes and all sorts of useful information for IBS sufferers. Subscribe for a list of low FODMAP food.
Thank you for taking time to read this post. All the best for now and take good care of yourself.