Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a disorder that is all too common in today’s world. The symptoms of IBS include such gastrointestinal ailments as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, gas, bloating, and other uncomfortable conditions. While it is unclear whether IBS is a single condition or a group of similar problems that may have multiple causes, it can result in a great deal of discomfort and distress.
For many people, diet plays an important role in irritable bowel syndrome. What you eat obviously has a big influence on how well your digestive system works.
By identifying which foods are most likely to result in an attack of IBS, you can begin to modify your diet in a way that will help keep your symptoms under control.
For many people, dietary modifications are all that is needed, eliminating the need for prescription medications or other, more invasive, forms of treatment.
A good way to start determining which foods are causing the problem is to keep a food diary. For a few weeks, write down everything that you eat, from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night. You should also keep track of your attacks of IBS. If you have problems during the day, write down a detailed description of how you feel.
For example, write down when the attack started, how long it lasted, and which particular symptoms you experienced. Once you have this information in hand, you can start to look for connections between your diet and your digestive issues. You may notice that on days when you eat a lot of corn, for example, you tend to have more problems.
While different people tend to have different sensitivities, there are some foods that are more likely to cause problems for many IBS patients. One of the most common sources of discomfort is fat.
A high-fat diet has been associated with increased frequency of irritable bowel syndrome in many people. If you tend to eat a lot of fatty, greasy foods, reducing or eliminating these from your diet can provide a lot of relief.
Certain types of fat may be easier on your intestines than others. You can try substituting olive oil for butter, for example. Experiment with different types of oil so that you can find out which one is most easily digested by your body.
For some people, the symptoms that they attribute to IBS may actually be the result of lactose intolerance. This condition is quite common in many populations, and is the result of a deficiency in the enzymes that your body uses to break down the sugars in milk.
If you do not have enough of these enzymes, you can experience many digestive problems, including nausea, bloating, and diarrhea. Since these symptoms overlap with those of IBS, you may not realize that dairy products are the source of your distress.
By using your food log, you can see whether there is a correlation between the amount of dairy that you eat on a given day and your level of discomfort.
If you find such a connection, try reducing the amount of dairy that you eat. Certain types of dairy products are more easily digestible by people who are lactose intolerant. Fermented dairy products, such as buttermilk or yogurt, are easier to digest since much of the sugar has already been broken down.
You can also find milk that has been treated to reduce the amount of lactose in it. There are also many non-dairy substitutes that you can use, such as soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk. While the flavor of these may not be quite the same, they can often be used as a perfectly acceptable substitute.
By keeping track of what you eat on a regular basis, you can start to discover which foods trigger an attack of IBS. With this information in hand, it will be easy to alter your diet in such a way as to reduce the frequency of your attacks.
IBS can be a debilitating condition, so it is important to find ways to keep it under control. Start tracking your diet right away so that you can start to get a handle on your problem.