Irritable Bowel Syndrome, commonly known as IBS, is a common digestive disorder that affects many people around the world. This condition is characterised by a group of symptoms that can include abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, and constipation. Although IBS can be a frustrating condition to manage, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms with the right dietary changes. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of IBS, what foods to avoid, and what foods can help alleviate the symptoms.
Symptoms of IBS:
IBS is a chronic condition that can cause a variety of digestive symptoms. These symptoms can vary from person to person, and can be mild or severe. Some common symptoms of IBS include:
Abdominal pain and cramping
Bloating and gas
Diarrhoea or constipation
Mucus in the stool
Nausea and vomiting
IBS can be difficult to diagnose, as there is no specific test that can confirm the condition. A doctor will typically make a diagnosis based on the patient's symptoms and medical history. If symptoms persist, a colonoscopy and blood test may be offered to rule out other disorders like coeliac disease and Crohns.
What Not to Eat:
There are several foods that can trigger IBS symptoms and should be avoided. These include:
Fatty Foods: Foods that are high in fat can be difficult to digest and can trigger IBS symptoms. This includes foods such as fried foods, fatty meats, and creamy sauces.
Dairy Products: Many people with IBS are lactose intolerant, which means they cannot digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. This can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.
Gluten: Some people with IBS may also have a sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. This can cause digestive symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea.
High-FODMAP Foods: FODMAPs are certain types of carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest and can cause digestive symptoms in people with IBS. Foods high in FODMAPs include onions, garlic, beans, and some fruits and vegetables.
While there are several foods to avoid when managing IBS, there are also several foods that can help alleviate symptoms. These include:
Soluble Fiber: Soluble fiber can help regulate bowel movements and reduce diarrhoea and constipation. Foods high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, fruits such as bananas and apples, and vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and alleviate digestive symptoms. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Low-FODMAP Foods: While high-FODMAP foods should be avoided, there are several low-FODMAP foods that can be beneficial for people with IBS. These include rice, quinoa, potatoes, and some fruits and vegetables.
Peppermint: Peppermint has been shown to have a calming effect on the digestive system and can help alleviate symptoms of IBS. Peppermint tea or capsules can be beneficial for managing symptoms.
In conclusion, IBS is a chronic digestive condition that can cause a variety of symptoms. While there is no cure for IBS, it is possible to manage the symptoms with the right dietary changes. Foods to avoid include fatty foods, dairy products, gluten, and high-FODMAP foods. Foods that can help alleviate symptoms include soluble fibre, probiotics, low-FODMAP foods, and peppermint. If you are struggling with IBS, it is important to talk to your doctor to develop a personalised treatment plan.
It is still not entirely clear why irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects more women than men, but several factors have been suggested as potential reasons. My symptoms got better while I was pregnant which was great but now I'm over 40 my hormones have changed again making my symptoms worse and more frequent.
Hormonal differences: Hormones may play a role in the development of IBS, as women experience hormonal fluctuations throughout their menstrual cycles and during menopause. Studies have suggested that changes in estrogen levels may influence gut function and sensitivity to pain.
Differences in gut motility: Women tend to have slower gut motility than men, which can contribute to constipation and other digestive issues associated with IBS.
Differences in stress response: Women may be more susceptible to stress-related disorders, including IBS. Stress can trigger IBS symptoms, and women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, which are known to worsen IBS symptoms.
Sociocultural factors: Women may be more likely to seek medical help for IBS than men, leading to higher rates of diagnosis. Men may be less likely to report gastrointestinal symptoms due to societal expectations of masculinity.
It is important to note that while IBS is more common in women, it can affect anyone regardless of gender.