Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has become increasingly common challenging the way the affected people live their everyday lives.
It is an uncomfortable disorder that brings about drastic and unexpected changes in the bowel movements.
Table of contents
- Five Ways to Prevent IBS and its manifestations:
- A healthy diet is the best bet- Avoid Triggers
- Take the aid of supplements if necessary
- Fix a strict eating regimen and follow it regularly
- Don’t underestimate the advantages of physical activity
- Find ways to de-stress
The symptoms of IBS are not common to everyone. While some people have frequent diarrhea, some have constipation. Coupled with abdominal pain and cramps, it makes a regular life uneasy for those affected.
Once diagnosed, medical intervention is necessary to control it. There is no definite way to cure it completely. It can only be managed effectively.
However, it can be prevented successfully by following a healthy lifestyle.
The percentage of people affected by IBS is shown in the below figure: Ref Link
The following image shows the occurrence of IBS in different regions of India and Bangladesh – ref link
Five Ways to Prevent IBS and Its Manifestations
The proven way to IBS prevention and to manage its symptoms is to avoid risk factors and the possible triggers. They are listed in detail below.
1. A healthy diet is the best bet- Avoid Triggers
Unhealthy food is the prime trigger when it comes to causing IBS symptoms. To prevent, it is necessary to follow strict diet rules.
Most nutritionists prescribe a Low FODMAP diet to prevent it. FODMAPs are basically carbohydrates with a low chain.
These short chain carbohydrates pull more water into the bowel making it difficult for the intestine to digest them. Not all food items rich in carbohydrates fall under FODMAPS.
Apart from high FODMAPs, there are other foods to avoid with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The must include and IBS foods to avoid to effectively prevent is tabulated below.
|Must include in an IBS diet
|Must foods to avoid with IBS diet
|Food items rich in fiber
|Lactose rich food items (like dairy and related products)
|Lots of Probiotics
|Wheat based cereals, bread, and pasta
|Seasonal fruits and vegetable
|Vegetables like onion, garlic, certain varieties of mushrooms and asparagus
|Proteins in the form of poultry, seafood etc.
|High-fructose corn syrup and food items with artificial sweeteners
|Plenty of water, coconut water, and herbal teas.
|Alcoholic drinks including wine and beer (very limited intake allowed)
2. Take the aid of supplements if necessary
If it is difficult to meet the prescribed dietary intake of fiber and other nutritional compounds, you can choose supplements. The different kinds of supplements that can help prevent the occurrence of IBS symptoms include:
- Fiber supplements
- Probiotic supplements
- Peppermint and other mint capsules
Fiber-rich supplements aid people suffering from constipation-predominant IBS. Fiber supplements are available in the form of a tablet and as a powder.
If your taste buds do not prefer the food items rich in Probiotics, choose Probiotic supplements. These supplements aid in stabilizing the gut flora and thus prevent all kinds of digestive disorders apart from IBS.
Mint based pills, especially peppermint pills that are available over the counter are excellent remedies for gas and bloating.
You can take these pills as a remedial measure after a heavy meal or after consumption of oily and greasy foods. Alternatively, you can make peppermint tea a part of your daily fluid intake.
Fix a strict eating regimen and follow it regularly
Snacking at odd hours of the day, eating heavy meals too often and other unhealthy eating habits cause havoc on your digestive system. Fixing a particular time for your meals and following them regularly can help you prevent the symptoms of IBS and also promote overall well being.
The following are the changes you can bring to your daily eating routine:
- Never skip a meal, especially breakfast. Do not skip meals even if you are not hungry.
- Have a meal chart and stick to the same time every day, at least for the major meals.
- Large meals put pressure on your digestive organs. Eat small meals with two or three snacks of salads, fruits, and nuts in between. Skip snacks if you are not hungry.
- Take enough time to chew your food. The enzymes in the saliva treat your food and aid in easy absorption by the digestive organs.
- Have an early dinner, at least two hours before you hit the bed.
To know more about professional diet and food for IBS, and ways to effectively manage weight, click here.
1. Don’t underestimate the advantages of physical activity
A good physical activity can help your entire system. A few minutes of physical workout can work wonders on your health in the long-term.
It is not just lifestyle disorders that can be maintained with a good workout regimen. Chronic conditions like IBS too are aided by regular physical activity.
Just like a diet chart have a schedule for exercise too and follow them irrespective of the circumstances. Exercise promotes good sleep and a healthy lifestyle. Exercise brings about the following changes in IBS patients:
- Decreases stress levels
- Aid in the better functioning of colon muscles
- Helps the passage of gas through the GI tract faster.
In a 2011 study in Sweden, Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients who maintained a regular exercise schedule of 30 to 60 minutes, three to five times a week reported a significant reduction in pain.
2. Find ways to de-stress
Everyday stress, turmoil, and anxiety do not cause IBS directly, but they play a significant role in the onset of symptoms. Your gut and brain are connected with the help of neurons and pass signals frequently.
An emotional turmoil or excessive stress can instantly spur spasms in the colon. By maintaining a healthy mental state, you can aid your digestive organs.
The following techniques are useful in coming up with stress:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Mindfulness training
- Relaxation therapy
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Is it ok to smoke?
No. Smoking and alcohol are a strict no if you suffer from IBS.
2. How much caffeine can I have if I suffer from IBS?
Caffeine-containing products must be limited as much as possible. In case of coffee, it must be limited to one cup a day, without milk.
3. Can spicy food trigger the symptoms of IBS?
Yes. Food items containing spices irritate the sensitive bowels and trigger diarrhea. Therefore, it is necessary that an IBS diarrhea diet is maintained.
4. How often can I take pulses if I suffer from IBS?
Pulses are hard to be absorbed by the intestines. Limit their intake as much as possible.
5. Can regular sleep over a period of time reduce my IBS symptoms?
Sleep aids in the overall functioning of the body. It may reduce the symptoms there is no way to guarantee the same.
To know more about the success stories of other patients who tackled IBS and other similar conditions