For numerous people the time after they’ve eaten is when they anticipate I.B.S. symptoms to feel worse. Signs and symptoms can be made much more intense by certain types of foodstuff.
Not everyone reacts to the identical food the identical way – a number of foods might make symptoms flare in one person, but not another. That’s why general practitioners do not suggest certain diets. Some IBS sufferers find that not eating certain foods helps them to feel better – usually established by simple trial and error. Those foods might worsen IBS symptoms, by triggering intestinal contraction – this is particularly true of sufferers whose primary symptom is diarrhea.
Taking care in food choices can help lower symptoms for some people. It’s a good idea to keep a daily record before you attempt to change your diet. That can help you determine which foods appear to result in the worst symptoms. Check with your physician for his advice on the findings. You may want to consult a registered dietician who can help you make changes to your diet. Dairy, for example, is something you should eat less of if you find that it increases your symptoms. You may find that you can digest yogurt more easily because it contains a bacteria which helps to digest the sugar found in milk – lactose. Dairy products are an important source of calcium and other nutrients. If you do find that you have to avoid dairy then it’s important to ensure you get plenty of nutrients in the rest of your food. You may even have to take a supplement.
In many cases, dietary fiber may lessen IBS symptoms, specially constipation. However, it may not help with lowering pain or reducing diarrhea. Good natural sources of fiber are found in things like fruit and vegetables, of course, but also in whole grain products. A high-fiber diet keeps your colon a little bit ‘full’ and that can help to prevent colonic spasm. There is some fiber that can help keep your stools ‘softer’ so they’re easier to pass. That’s because it helps the stools to retain more water. Generally speaking you should have enough fiber in your diet so that bowel movements are easy and painless. High fiber diets may cause gas and bloating, although some people report that these symptoms go away within a few weeks. Increasing fiber intake by 2 to 3 grams per day will help reduce the risk of increased gas and bloating.
It’s also important to make sure you drink enough plain water, particularly if you’re suffering from diarrhea, which tends to dehydrate you. Don’t forget that sodas can also increase gassiness and bloating – they are not a substitute for water. Gassiness can also increase if you eat too quickly, or chew a lot of gum. That’s because you end up swallowing air, which has to escape somehow.
Large meals can cause cramping and diarrhea, so eating smaller meals more often, or eating smaller portions, may help IBS symptoms. Eating meals that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables may help.
Limit or eliminate foods that may make diarrhea worse, including caffeine, alcohol, foods high in sugar, fatty foods, gas producing foods such as beans, cabbage, and broccoli, and the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylitol often used in sugarless gum and sugarless candy.
Fats of all kinds are also triggers for constipation as well as diarrhea, because fats are a very powerful GI tract stimulant just like insoluble fiber. Fats can cause the same type of rapid spasms or “charley horse” muscle contractions in the colon, and again result in either diarrhea or constipation. The foods that seem to be the biggest triggers for IBS are generally high in saturated fats. Foods like red meat, fried food, dairy products. Foods like dairy and meat contain certain proteins that can be very difficult for the body to digest.
Eat slowly and have meals in a quiet, calming atmosphere.