The first part of the article deals with the symptoms and general treatment of IBS, i.e. through dietary changes.
The second part introduces a less well known cause and possible treatment of IBS, the adjustment of the ileocecal valve.
Disclaimer: This article is not designed to provide medical advice or professional services. It is intended to be for educational use only. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem you should consult your doctor.
Quite a few people suffer from IBS – irritable bowel syndrome – and if you are one of them you will know that the symptoms can be very incapacitating.
These symptoms can include
- abdominal pain, which may be relieved by passing wind
- discomfort, bloating, gas
- constipation, with cramping and difficulties to eliminate stools
- diarrhoea, often with an urgent drive to use the toilet
- or both of them alternating
- mucus present in the stools
- nausea, but without vomiting.
The symptoms can vary between patients, and also over time.
IBS gets triggered through a variety of stimuli, and IBS symptoms may get made worse by:
- large meals;
- fatty, fried foods
- beans and cabbage, that cause gas in the colon
- bran, wheat, rye, barley;
- dairy products, large amounts of fruit;
- coffee, tea, or drinks with caffeine;
- stress, conflict, or emotional upsets.
There is no cure for IBS and the conventional treatment usually aims at controlling the symptoms and at lessening the frequency of the occurrence.
IBS generally reacts very positive to changes in the diet. The main treatment is to eliminate the foods that trigger the symptoms. It is helpful to write a ‘food diary’ to learn from experience what helps and what doesn’t. Regular eating habits, eating small portions more often, chewing well, stress management, and exercise are other central parts of the IBS treatment.
The following list of foods is a general advice – individual persons can react different to some of the included foods.
FOOD to PREFER and EAT MORE:
- foods with high contents of soluble fibre, as basis of every meal;
- white poultry meat; seafood;
rice, brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, barley, fresh white bread, rice cereals, corn meal, corn flour, soy, quinoa, carrots, yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes; parsnip, beet, squash, pumpkin, mushroom, chestnut; avocado, banana, mango; small portions of cooked fruit;
- small amounts of essential, unsaturated oils.
- Drinks: herbal teas: fennel, chamomile, peppermint; warm water.
The preferred cooking method should be: steamed, boiled, baked, grilled.
- foods rich in insoluble fibre, to be eaten after and together with food from the first column, and in small portions;
- raw foods at the end of the meal;
- for example:
whole wheat, brown bread, whole grain cereals, muesli, popcorn; beans, lentils;
- berries, pineapple, melon, most fruits in general, oranges, lemons, dates, prunes;
- lettuce, peas, green beans, peppers, corn, cucumber, tomatoes;
- seeds, herbs;
- Careful with: garlic, onions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, Brussels sprouts;
- Drinks: try controlled amounts of fruit juice.
The preferred cooking method should be: boiled, mashed, raw.
FOOD to AVOID and EAT LESS:
- Avoid known trigger foods:
red meat; dairy; fatty foods;
- rough fibre;
- caffeine; alcohol;
red meat, hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, beef, salami, pork, ham, bacon, sausages, and meat from sheep, goats, deer;
- dark meat and skin from chicken, turkey, ducks, goose;
- dairy products, cheese, butter, cream cheese, milk;
- fats, oils, shortening, ghee, mayonnaise, salad dressing;
- deep fried food, chips, fish finger, chicken chips;
- nuts and nut butters;
- croissants, doughnuts;
- Avoid drinking: coffee, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages.
Avoid the cooking methods of deep frying and microwave.
Helpful supplements may be soluble fibre in powder or tablet form; minerals calcium and/or magnesium; and omega-3 and omega-6 oils.
Remember: Nutrients from supplements are general less effective than those from fresh foods.
Supplements cannot replace a balanced intake of healthy foods.