Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS affects the bowel movements and impacts digestion and metabolism. It causes a great deal of irritation and discomfort in the abdomen. Proper bowel movement gets altered resulting in either constipation or diarrhea while also changing the stool consistency. Women are prone to this syndrome especially after the age of 25.
The primary causes of irritable bowel syndrome are not known, though intestinal infections are found to have induced it. Some types of food can also cause sensitivity in the bowel region. Moreover, genetics can play a role in the development of this ailment. Stress is said to trigger irritable bowel syndrome, thereby aggravating the condition.The occurrence of muscle spasms inside the intestines is also a common phenomenon.
A person suffering from irritable bowel syndrome constantly experiences extreme fatigue, bloating, anxiety, and stomach ache. It is also characterized by a continuous sensation of incomplete stool movement, even when the bowel has been emptied.Although it is not a serious medical condition, it can have a negative influence on an individual’s lifestyle.
An individual can encounter any of the three types of the ailment. If IBS is characterized by recurrent constipation, it is known as IBS-C. On the other hand, the one characterized by chronic diarrhea is known as IBS-D. If there is an occurrence of both constipation and diarrhea alternately, the condition is known as alternating (mixed) IBS or IBS-A (IBS-M). When the individual does not face any typical symptoms of the above three types, he said to fall into the category of unsubtyped IBS.
Irritable bowel syndrome can be troublesome if it is not managed properly. The best remedy is to have an IBS diet plan that is low on FODMAPs. The abbreviation FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo, Di-, Monosaccharides, And Polyols: a series of carbohydrates that are not easily processed by the small intestine. Therefore, restricting the consumption of food items that contain a high degree of FODMAPs may reduce bloating and provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome.
The impact of a FODMAP-free IBS diet plan varies from person to person depending upon the sensitivity of the gastrointestinal tract. One has to show complete dedication in following the IBS diet plan rigorously as it involves limiting the intake of some common food items. Leaving a IBS diet plan midway will not yield the desired results. Following are the essential components of a IBS diet plan suggested for irritable bowel syndrome:
- Fruits: Breakfast can comprise of delicious fruits such as bananas, grapes, or melons. They may also serve as snacks to munch on between meals. Apples, pears, and mangoes should be avoided.
- Vegetables: Green bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and tomatoes are good options for those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These can be cooked or eaten raw in the form of salads. Garlic, peas, and onions are a big no-no.
- Dairy products: Soya milk is a good substitute for normal milk. Yoghurt can be included in the diet only if its lactose-free. Steer clear of artificially flavored and sweetened products.
- Cereals: Gluten-free bread or oats are great options for breakfast. Quinoa and rice can make for a good lunch. Time and again, these items have also been successful in controlling weight gain. Keep wheat, lentils, and chickpeas away from your diet.
- Nuts: Almonds are healthy nuts that can be safely consumed. Pistachios and cashews are certainly prohibited.
- Protein: Eggs, bacon, salmon, chicken, and prawns help in satisfying the recommended daily protein intake. Tofu can serve the nutritional requirements for vegetarian individuals.
- Drinks: It is extremely necessary to gulp down lots of water and natural drinks. However, refrain from the consumption of aerated drinks as they can lead to bloating. Alcohol, which is known for causing excessive dehydration, can result in an upset bowel.
The IBS diet plan should be developed with the help of a doctor to prevent the risk of malnutrition. Food items that are otherwise healthy, may cause an imbalance in the bowel movements and should be avoided by patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These include bread made from rye, broccoli, avocado, honey and the like. If the diet does not work well, the individual can resort to medication. Laxatives are suggested in the case of IBS-C as these help in relieving constipation. Antidiarrheal medicines are prescribed to patients with IBS-D to control diarrhea. Medicines triggering side effects is an ordinary phenomenon, and hence, the individual should be prepared for it.
For an IBS diet plan to be effective, get some advice from the doctor as to when to eat what. It is also important to inform him about the symptoms that you are experiencing and undergo tests to rule out any other disease. Also, get a checkup done at regular intervals to find out if any alterations are required in the diet plan.