what to eat for IBS

What to Eat for IBS

What is IBS?

Agonizing stomach pain. Constipation. Irritating Diarrhea. Bothersome bloating. Cramping. Gas. Oh, and don’t forget the “I need a toilet, NOW”. If any of these words brought back painful memories that you wish to forget, you aren’t alone. However, if this describes your current situation, day after day, week after week, month after month, you may be struggling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). You may also be wondering what to eat for IBS.

For those with IBS, you aren’t alone. This syndrome affects more than 10% of the population with a variety of bothersome symptoms. If you suspect you have IBS but have not been diagnosed, we highly recommend getting tested. Work with a gastroenterologist to get a clear idea of what your issue might be. There may be more going on than just irritable bowel syndrome, such as celiac disease, GERD, malignancy, endometriosis, SIBO, and more.

For those with IBS, daily life is significantly impacted. You may be frustrated with how your symptoms have impacted:

  • Sleep
  • Physical appearance (ie. abdominal distension)
  • Energy levels
  • Sexual relationships & relationships with family/friends
  • Daily fear/anxiety of when those symptoms will show up
  • Fear of travel
  • Increased sick days, or reduced productivity
  • Depression/anxiety

IBS Awareness

Take a look at the impact of IBS. The numbers are surprising! After you take a look, let’s jump right into some ways to manage it.

Graphic from www.aboutibs.org.

A Few Common Triggers for Bloating, Gas, & Pain

Recommendations for IBS and what to eat for IBS are guided by the individual’s symptoms. This is why it is important to meet with a dietitian to get the guidance you need for your specific symptoms. Here are a few triggers that you might want to avoid if you do suffer from IBS symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • High stress
  • Eating too quickly
  • Very high-intensity exercise or no exercise
  • Too much or too little fiber
  • Not enough water intake
  • Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and carbonation
  • Artificial sweeteners & sugar alcohols (ie. sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol)
  • High-fat foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Certain supplements/medications (if not necessary)

Keep in mind, this is highly individual. Every person might have a different tolerance level or different triggers. This is why help from a dietitian is super beneficial. 

We have just 3 gold nuggets to share with you! We have provided 3 for constipation-dominant (IBS-C) & 3 for diarrhea-dominant IBS (IBS-D) so you can get help meal planning and know what to eat for IBS.

3 Recommendations for IBS-C

  1. Ensure adequate hydration
  2. Consider including prune juice, kiwis, or flaxseed as a remedy
  3. Reduce certain FODMAPs with the help of a dietitian

3 Recommendations for IBS-D

  1. Consider a probiotic (see a dietitian for specific recommendations)
  2. Consider soluble fibers, which are able to hold onto water, creating a gel in your intestinal tract (psyllium or oats) for a more formed stool
  3. Reduce certain FODMAPs with the help of a dietitian

Getting started on the low-FODMAP diet

If FODMAP is new to you, FODMAP is an abbreviation for Fermentable Oligo‐, Di‐ and Mono‐saccharides and Polyols. For a good reason, you might see why we shorten it to FODMAP! In other words, these are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. If they digest poorly, they can ferment in the large intestine. Fermentation can draw out water and produce carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and even methane gas. These can cause the intestine to expand. Unfortunately, as a result, some people may feel pain, bloating, gas, and other symptoms. 

You should have Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) guidance when implementing the low-FODMAP diet. 

This diet is NOT meant to be followed long-term. It’s a tool we use so that you can identify which foods might be triggers. We reintroduce in small and safe amounts so that we can determine your tolerance. Once those are identified, you are able to live free from food anxiety and find relief from symptoms.  

For one-on-one FODMAP diet help, click this link. Our dietitians will guide you through the elimination and reintroduction phases. We will give you more tips and education on how to better manage your symptoms. 

Making Changes

When making the elimination changes required for low-FODMAP, be sure to do it with the guidance of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). You can risk doing it the wrong way, leading to worsened symptoms of false triggers. Additionally, supplements might help or hurt that gut health. Working with a dietitian will help make sure we identify the correct triggers.

In conclusion, remember that these recommendations are not for everyone. We all are different, and each person with IBS may have different recommendations and needs. Say goodbye to that urgent diarrhea, constipation, and pain by scheduling an appointment with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) today to find relief from your IBS symptoms.

Meet with an IBS dietitian

Get relief from your symptoms! Gain confidence in your daily life, that you don’t have to live with anxiety or needing to know where a bathroom is at all times. Meet with one of our stellar dietitians that are trained on the use of a low FODMAP diet for IBS by Monash University. Meet with them to get started on this diet so that you can know what to eat for IBS & avoid any food & gut anxiety. Let’s “gut” it done!

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