Painful and uncomfortable abdominal symptoms are common with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. While the symptoms can be bothersome, this gastrointestinal disorder doesn’t damage your digestive tract or increase the risk of colon cancer. With that said, if you have this disorder, understanding IBS triggers and ways to avoid them can improve your quality of life.
Most Common Symptoms And Triggers Of IBS
Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, mucus in the stool, excess gas, pain, and cramps in the lower abdomen constitute the main symptoms of IBS. Some patients alternate between diarrhea and constipation.
The most common triggers are related to the foods you eat, the medications you take, and the effects of emotional stress. Some researchers believe IBS is our gut’s reaction to stress.
There is no known single cause for IBS and no cure. Avoiding triggers is the best way to manage irritable bowel syndrome.
Know Your Triggers And Manage Them
Let’s look at: eat this, not that.
For diarrhea symptoms: Eat this
- Eat a moderate amount of soluble fiber like whole-wheat pasta, oats, barley, brown rice, and the flesh of fruits (not the skin).
- Eat smaller portions.
- Drink water one hour before and after meals, not with meals.
For diarrhea symptoms: Not that
Triggers for diarrhea symptoms include:
- Too much fiber
- Foods and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, and fructose
- Carbonated drinks
- Large meals
- Wheat if you are gluten intolerant
For constipation symptoms: Eat this
- Boost your fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams a day. For women 25 grams per day, and for men 38 grams per day
- Whole wheat cereals and breads, beans, fruits, and veggies
- Eat moderate amounts of foods higher in the sugar substitute sorbitol like prune juice and plums
- Drink lots of water!
- Sprinkle flaxseed on salads and cooked vegetables
For constipation symptoms: Not that
Triggers for constipation symptoms include:
- Breads and cereals from refined grains (not whole)
- All processed foods
- Coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol
- High protein diets
- Dairy, especially cheese
Refining your diet to avoid triggers and supplementing it with other foods and drinks will help ease some of your symptoms. Give it time.
As For Stress
We all know the drill. Get regular exercise, enough sleep, and try to relax with music, walking, listening to music, and yoga.
Contact Digestive Health Services at 630-434-9312 if you have symptoms of IBS or to find out if your medications could be triggers for your IBS.