Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is probably the most common digestive disorder seen by doctors. Basically, this condition results when the normal contractions of your digestive tract become irregular and uncoordinated. Material starts to accumulate in the digestive tract and causes stomach problems, bloating, pain, and constipation.
Not surprisingly, many people learn to fear eating, which seems to trigger all the painful digestive symptoms that go along with IBS. Malnutrition can then become a real problem. A recent study performed at the Mayo Clinic has shed more light on this dilemma of eating or not eating when it comes to IBS. For the trial, researchers surveyed IBS patients over a six-month period by having them complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire included questions about dietary beliefs and habits. In all, 244 patients were surveyed. Here’s what the research team found:
— 56% believed that food played a role in relapse
— Nearly half reported that the disease had changed the pleasure of eating
— 67% reported purposely avoiding certain foods that they usually liked in order to prevent relapse
— The majority of patients reported that avoiding food had a strong impact on their social life
If you have IBD, it’s totally understandable that you may try to manage your condition by severely restricting your diet. But, before you do this, try these other alternative remedies first, and see if you can’t improve your symptoms without having to leave out healthy, nutritious foods that you enjoy.
— Eat a high-fiber diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables
— Take psyllium powder to regulate bowel movements
— Do avoid animal fats, butter, fried foods, and junk food
— Try charcoal tablets if you have an attack (don’t take them daily, however, because charcoal absorbs nutrients, taking them away from your body)
— Consider taking milk thistle and licorice supplements to help boost your liver function, which is often compromised in IBS patients (licorice is one herb that you shouldn’t take for more than five days in a row, as it can raise your blood pressure)
Sources for Today’s Articles:
If You Have IBS, You MUST Avoid These Foods
Kane S et al, “What physicians don’t know about patient dietary beliefs and behavior can make a difference,” Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. September 2012; 6(5): 545-7.