[Parent Connection] Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

March 28, 2023

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects approximately 10-15% of the population worldwide. Studies revealed that IBS is more common in females than males. IBS is one of the most common reasons for work or school absenteeism, second only to the common cold.

While the exact cause of IBS is still unknown, but it is generally related to personal lifestyle, such as eating habits, stress, sleep disorders, emotional impact, etc. Studies have also pointed out that people who had suffered from severe acute gastroenteritis, or have a nervous personality are more likely to suffer from IBS. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and changes in bowel routine and stool consistency.

Research suggests that diet plays a significant role in managing the condition. In this article, we’ll discuss the role of nutrition in IBS and some tips for managing the condition through diet.

1. Increase fiber intake:

Increasing dietary fiber intake has been shown to improve symptoms of IBS, particularly constipation. Research suggests that soluble fiber is more beneficial in relieving IBS symptoms. Foods contain soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans, and fruits such as apples and berries. However, consuming too much fiber at once can cause gas and stomach discomfort, so it is recommended to gradually increase fiber intake over time.

2. Low FODMAP diet:

FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Monosaccharides and Polyols) are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are hard to digest and poorly absorbed in the small intestine, which then being fermented by gut bacteria, leading to symptoms of IBS. A low FODMAP diet has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of IBS in some people. Foods high in FODMAPs include wheat, onions, garlic, beans, lentils, and some fruits such as apples, mango, watermelon, and pears. However, it is important to note that a low FODMAP diet should be followed under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as it can be difficult to follow and may lead to nutrient deficiencies.

3. Probiotics:

Several studies have shown that probiotics can be effective in reducing symptoms of IBS, particularly bloating and abdominal pain. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. Examples of probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir or taken as supplement.

4. Mindful eating:

A practice involves paying attention to the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating and has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of IBS. Mindful eating can help people with IBS to identify triggers and make more informed food choices. As well reduce stress and anxiety, which are known to exacerbate digestive issues such as IBS.

In conclusion, while there is no one-size-fits-all IBS diet, it is best to work with a healthcare provider and a registered dietitian to determine the best dietary plan for your specific needs.


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