Irritable Bowel Syndrome Recommendations and Considerations

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Recommendations

❑ Eat a high-fiber diet including plenty of vegetables, whole grains (especially brown rice), and legumes. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Recommendations. However, be careful of fruit; fructose and fructans may cause worsening of symptoms—limit intake of all fruit and juices to two servings per day. Eating less fruit may result in fewer symptoms with less severity.

❑ Use supplemental fiber. Psyllium powder regulates bowel movements and should be used daily. Also use oat bran and ground flaxseeds daily, on an alternating basis.

❑ Avoid animal fats, butter, all carbonated beverages, coffee and all other substances containing caffeine, candy, chocolate, all dairy products, fried foods, ice cream, all junk foods, the additives mannitol and sorbitol, margarine, nuts, orange and grapefruit juices, pastries, all processed foods, seeds, spicy foods, sugar, sugar-free chewing gum, and wheat bran and wheat products. These foods encourage the secretion of mucus by the membranes and prevent the uptake of nutrients.

❑ Limit your consumption of gas-producing foods such as beans, broccoli, and cabbage if they cause any problems.

❑ Avoid alcohol and tobacco; these irritate the linings of the stomach and colon.

❑ When an intestinal upset occurs, switch to a bland diet. Put vegetables and nonacidic fruits through a food processor or blender. Organic baby food is good. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Recommendations. If you are on a soft diet, take some type of fiber and a protein supplement.

❑ To relieve occasional gas and bloating, use charcoal tablets (available in health food stores). Take 5 tablets as soon as this problem arises. Do not use charcoal daily, however, because it also absorbs needed nutrients, and do not take it at the same time as other supplements or medications.

❑ Exercise, such as stretching exercises, swimming, or walking, is also important.
Caution: If you are thirty-five or older and/or have been sedentary for some time, consult with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program.

❑ Check to see if you have food allergies; they are important factors in this disorder. Eliminating allergenic foods from the diet relieves symptoms in many cases.

❑ Chew your food welt Do not overeat or eat in a hurry.

❑ Practice deep-breathing exercises. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Recommendations. Shallow breathing reduces the oxygen available for proper bowel function.

❑ Wear loose-fitting clothing. Do not wear anything that is tight around the waist

❑ Do not eat right before going to bed. Wait one or two hours after eating before lying down.

❑ Significant acidosis may occur with IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Recommendations

Considerations

❑ Eating the correct diet, using supplemental fiber, and drinking plenty of quality water are very important in controlling IBS. Early recognition of the disease, good nutrition, and a positive outlook help minimize complications.

❑ It takes between twelve and fifteen hours for food to be completely processed. Food such as meat can take longer, whereas fresh foods, raw foods, or lightly steamed foods are processed much more quickly.

❑ Certain foods irritate the wall of the intestinal tract. Lactose (milk sugar) is a common culprit, as are all dairy products. Avoid grains, nuts, and seeds until symptoms subside. Always chew these types of foods until they are almost liquefied in the mouth.

❑ As with other chronic conditions, alternative therapies are popular for treating IBS symptoms. In one study, the most commonly tried alternative treatments included lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, yoga, acupuncture, and using suppositories.

❑ IBS should not be confused with the more serious bowel disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These are also inflammatory bowel diseases but, unlike IBS, they result in demonstrable lesions in the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease affects the entire length and thickness of the wall of the large and/or small intestine; ulcerative colitis affects the lining of the large intestine, the last five to seven feet of the digestive tract.

❑ People with irritable bowel syndrome are also likely to have associated conditions such as dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), globus sensation (a feeling of having a ball in the throat), gynecological problems, heartburn, noncardiac chest pain, and urologic dysfunction.

❑ An imbalance of gut flora is common for those with irritable bowel syndrome. Usually, the pathogenic flora outnumber the friendly bacteria. This can be corrected somewhat with probiotics (live microorganisms) and prebiotics (fiber).

❑ People with IBS should receive regular physical examinations. This disorder has been linked to a higher than normal incidence of colon cancer and diverticulitis.

❑ Certain drugs can aggravate the malabsorption problems often present with IBS. These include antibiotics, corticosteroids, cholestyramine (Questran), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), among others. These drugs increase the need for nutritional supplements.

❑ Antispasmodic drugs (Di-Spaz, Lomotil) and antidiarrheal drugs (Imodium) slow the function of the gastrointestinal tract and are regularly prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome. However, they have serious side effects and can induce dependency. Some health practitioners have also prescribed highly addictive tranquilizers and antidepressants. Consult a pediatrician before using any of these or any drugs for children.

❑ Many people with irritable bowel syndrome have experienced improvements in symptoms after using Chinese herbal medicine (CHM).

❑ In one study, children eight to eighteen years of age with IBS benefited from gut-directed hypnotherapy. After one year, the children in this study experienced less pain and less frequent attacks. The authors concluded that this was a highly effective therapy for children. This practice has also been shown to be effective for adults.

❑ Research and testing have found not only that breathing exercises can control IBS, but that people who practice stress management have fewer and less severe attacks. Stress management also relieves symptoms.

❑ The symptoms of IBS are similar to those of many other disorders, including cancer. If dietary modification and natural remedies yield no relief, it is wise to consult a physician to rule out some other underlying problem. We recommend this only after natural remedies have been tried, however.