Complaints about functional disturbances of the stomach and bowel are also often described as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. IBS can have various causes and often requires a set of therapeutic steps.
Every second patient visiting a gastroenterologist is suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. IBS can have mental causes which are often neglected by physicians who prefer medicamentous therapy. However, a successful therapy for irritable bowel syndrome should include mental aspects as well.
Many physicians will tell you that IBS is a psychosomatic illness and not necessarily connected with your food. They also say that there is nothing like a diet for IBS. There is healthy food and a healthy way of eating. Since the causes for IBS are mental, the right ‘diet’ starts there.
However, there are certainly eating habits and foods which are not good for your body and can worsen the irritable bowel syndrome or cause stomach and bowel problems in any person. If you eat a lot of refined sugar or eat very fat food then you are definitely not helping your digestion. The right food therefore is of importance, can worsen or reduce the complaints.
Recommendations regarding a diet for IBS are therefore the same as for a healthy diet in general. Drink a lot of good water. Avoid too much caffeine which stimulates your digestion. Do not eat large amounts of foods. Avoid gas producing foods like beans or certain vegetables like cabbage, onions or broccoli.
It has been reported that fiber can ease the complaints. Consuming a variety of fibers from vegetables, grains over a period of time can help reducing the symptoms of IBS. There is soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves quickly while insoluble fiber can absorb much liquid like cabbage for example.
Food allergies can be a cause of IBS as well. When you have a food allergy then your body produces antibodies as reaction to certain foods. If you believe you have an allergy, then in more than two-third of all cases it is caused by milk products, fish, wheat, eggs or nuts. However, less than 2% really suffer from food allergies so your irritable bowel syndrome may be of a different cause. But you should try to avoid these foods for a few days and see if you feel better. Be warned though that the total elimination of certain foods can cause malnutrition.
While the right food is important, the mental factors can be of even higher importance. Stress can be a major factor because it affects your body negatively in many different ways which can also end in irritable bowel syndrome. You should try to reduce stress and other physical and mental ‘disturbances’ in your life. Many people are reacting very sensitive to changes in their environment for example. Others are sensitive to noise.
While IBS usually is harmless, the symptoms can be easily confused with those of other diseases. You should consult your doctor if your problems do not go away.
Hilde Coggan has been published with many articles about the irritable bowel syndrome , the diet for IBS and the description of irritable bowel syndrome . Feel free to contact her for more information.