What is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome manifests in the form of cramps, gas, diarrhoea and constipation. This is one of those conditions that medical practitioners across the world are still wrestling to wrap their minds around it. In the UK it has a prevalence of 17%. This is spread at 11% among all men, and 23% among all women. Which works out to about 1 in every 10 men suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, and 1 in every 5 women as well.
I have a friend who loves to travel to watch football matches. He has found himself increasingly restricted in movement due to IBS. It makes him apologetic and uncomfortable around others. Which is obviously very sad, for someone to have to endure this from something that is not of their own making.
Managing IBS largely rests on lifestyle choices. These may be in the form of exercise, and more importantly diet. Over time you would be able to note a pattern of the sort of food that causes your body to manifest the undesired reactions. There are common food types that are often implicated. These include dairy foods.
Dairy foods are digested by an enzyme called lactase. In most cases of IBS, your body is not producing enough of this enzyme to digest the dairy food that you are eating. This of courses causes severe irritation to your bowel.
According to Dr Beck, the answer is necessarily getting rid of all dairy intake. It is about gauging the amount of dairy that triggers the effects. If you know how much you can eat without triggering this, you have found the sweet spot. This would allow you to continue consuming dairy products.
Sugar and beans have often been found to also be culprits. As with the dairy products, not all beans are equal. You may find that some kinds of beans trigger the unwanted reaction, while others do not. This is something that is found out over time, through trial and error.
Fructose, a sugar that is found in a lot of fizzy drinks as well as in most fruit juices is also a difficult one to process. Sorbitol in your sweets can also be troublesome. If you find yourself manifesting symptoms, cutting back on these completely for a start is good. You may then start to slowly reintegrate them into your diet. As with the dairy products, you are looking for just the right amount that your body can process.
I don’t think you need telling just how much fat is in our diets across the world. This is obviously more common in developed countries. High fat intake cause you’re bowel to contract. This is something that usually causes a lot of pain to suffers from IBS. It is advisable to keep your total fat intake to less than 30% of your total calorie consumption.
We have already mentioned the importance of watching out for your diet. This cannot be overstated. Just eating the right food in the right amounts will go a long way. This will allow you to effectively manage this condition.
- Peppermint in the form of tea or tablets is effectively at soothing the stomach and eliminating symptoms.
- Liquorice root. Seeing as you may be having to get rid of all your sweets. A bit of liquorice root is a great addition to this. It is a natural anti-inflammatory which will help bring relief.
- Psyllium is a high fibre seed. It is also effective at bringing relief.
- Increase your fibre intake. More wholegrain food.
- Eat your meal more regularly, allowing more time.
- Do not go for long periods between meals
- Increase your water and herbal tea intake
- Cut caffeine intake
- Do not overconsume wholegrain and other high fibre foods. They are necessary, but not to be overdone.
- Cut sugar and fresh fruit intake. 3 fruits a day for a start. Adjust as you will.
- Oatmeal has been found to be helpful for bloating and passing gas.
More importantly, keep a food intake journal. Record what you are eating and track how you react to food. This should factor in time between meals, as well as portion sizes. Consulting a medical professional as often as you require will also go a long way.