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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (cont.)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Diet and lifestyle changes are important in decreasing the frequency and severity of IBS symptoms.

The first thing your doctor may suggest is to keep a food diary. This will help you figure out foods that trigger your symptoms.

  • Limit foods that contain ingredients that can stimulate the intestines and cause diarrhea, such as:

    • Caffeine

    • Alcohol

    • Dairy products

    • Fatty foods

    • Foods high in sugar

    • Artificial sweeteners (sorbitol and xylitol)

  • Some vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts) and legumes (beans) may worsen bloating and gassiness and should be avoided.

  • Dietary fiber may lessen symptoms of constipation.

  • Drink plenty of water, and avoid carbonated drinks such as soda, which may cause gas and discomfort.

  • Eat smaller meals and eat slowly to help reduce cramping and diarrhea.

  • Low fat, high carbohydrate meals such as pasta, rice, and whole-grain breads may help (unless you have celiac disease).

In addition to dietary changes, there are some healthy habits that may also help reduce IBS symptoms.

  • Maintain good physical fitness to improve bowel function and help reduce stress.

  • Stop smoking for overall good health.

  • Avoid coffee and chewing gum.

  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption may help.

  • Stress management can help prevent or ease IBS symptoms.

    • Use relaxation techniques: deep breathing, visualization, yoga

    • Do things you find enjoyable: talk to friends, read, listen to music
Medical Editor:

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Irritable Bowel Disease »

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional GI disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of specific and unique organic pathology.

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