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Managing IBS

If you have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and have been living with the symptoms for a while, you will know how unpredictable it can be. Whilst you can’t always predict what will cause an IBS flare up, there are certain things you can do to make living with IBS easier.

  1. Eat regular meals. Going long periods without eating and then eating a large meal is more likely to cause IBS symptoms.

  2. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated. Try to limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink, since these can make IBS symptoms worse.

  3. Start a food diary. Record what you eat and what symptoms you experience (if any). Doing this for a number of weeks will help you figure out if there are any foods that trigger your IBS symptoms. There is a list of foods that irritate IBS below.

  4. Regular exercise can help to provide IBS relief.

  5. Minimise stress where possible and take time to relax.

  6. Medication for IBS treatment includes antispasmodics to ease cramps and spasms, laxatives to relieve constipation and antimotility medication to ease diarrhoea.

Foods To Avoid With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There’s no perfect IBS diet to suit every individual, but there are certain foods that are known IBS trigger foods. One or more of the foods listed below may cause irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, but they will differ from person to person. All are worth bearing in mind if you are keeping a food diary.

Depending on your symptoms, foods to avoid with IBS may include:

  • Caffeinated drinks

  • Fizzy drinks

  • Alcohol

  • The pith and skin of fruits and vegetables

  • Sources of insoluble fibre, including wholegrain bread, cereals, seeds and nuts

  • Sorbitol, a sweetener often found in sugar-free sweets and gum

  • Foods that are high in fat, such as cheese, fast food, crisps, cakes, and anything deep fried

  • Dairy products high in lactose

If you suffer from wind and bloating, it is best to limit the amount of fruit you eat to three portions a day, and only drink one glass of fruit juice. You may also want to restrict the amount of pulses, whole grains and processed foods you eat, as these contain starches that are not fully digested and can cause gas.