Diet in Irritable bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that involves large intestine. Common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, rectal pain, sensation of incomplete evacuation,mucous in the stool and frequent onset of alternating diarrhoea and constipation.

Causes of irritable bowel syndrome

IBS is a common disorder affecting 20% of women and 10-15% of men worldwide. Although the exact cause of IBS is unknown many health experts suggests that the abnormal communication between the brain and GI tract results in Irritable bowel syndrome. One of the main cause of irritable bowel syndrome is tension and depression due to life stressors such as employment, divorce and uncomfortable social situations which directly effect your dietary patterns and causes GI disorders. About 40-60 % patients suffering from IBS also report psychiatric problems such as anxiety, depression or somatisation. In additionto stress and depressionother factors include

  • Excessive use of laxatives and other medicines
  • caffeine
  • Antibiotics
  • Restlessness and sleeplessness
  • Previous GI problems
  • Family history of food allergies

Diet management in IBS

The primary aim of diet management is to ensure adequate nutrient intake and avoid dietary practices that contributes to symptoms .

  • A high fibre diet is usually recommended which add bulk to stools and promote normal bowel movement. In certain conditions such as constipation additional fibre in the form psyllium ( isapghol) is also recommended. However excessive use of wheat bran sometimes aggravate the symptoms. Rich sources of fibre are whole-grains, oats, fruits, vegetables and flaxseeds.
  • Low fat diet is usually recommended in order to avoid combination symptoms of diarrhoea and constipation and uncomfortable bowel symptoms.
  • Drink plenty of fluids preferably water to avoid dehydration associated with diarrhoea in irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Probiotics found in yogurt and fermented milk have been found to decrease bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence . Try to add three tablespoons of yogurt with every big meals.
  • Avoid gas producing foods such as cauliflower, beans, chickpeas which causes flatulence and bloating.
  • Low FODMAP diet. FODMAP are generally short chain fatty acids that are poorly absorb in GI tract . The diet low in FODMAP is an effective treatment of gas, bloating abdominal pain and other IBS symptoms. Food to avoid include, milk, ice cream and cheese, fruits such as mangoes, plums, oranges, legumes, high fructose corn syrup found n fizzy drinks, vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.



Aliya Waqas