Do you have IBS?
Are you one of the 20% in the population affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
IBS is a medical term used to describe a collection of gut symptoms including abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating or change in bowel habits including constipation and/or diarrhoea. Lethargy, nausea, backache and bladder symptoms are common in people with IBS, and may be used to support the diagnosis.
It is important to have a GP confirm a diagnosis of IBS and rule out other conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
What steps can be taken for IBS?
- Eat three regular meals a day.
- Smaller portions may ease symptoms.
- Limit alcohol to 2 units/day (2 alcohol free days/week).
- Limit caffeine containing drinks to no more than 2 mugs/day.
- Reduce fizzy drinks.
- Drink at least 8 cups fluid/day.
- Cut down on rich/fatty foods such as pizza, creamy sauces and crisps.
- Limit fruit to 3 portions/day.
- Get professional advice on appropriate dietary fibre depending on symptoms.
- Keep a food/symptom diary.
Probiotics supplements such as yoghurts or fermented milk drinks taken daily for at least four weeks may improve symptoms. If they do not appear to help then you could try an alternative brand. Give your bowels time to adjust to any changes.
If symptoms persist after following general lifestyle and dietary advice speak to a healthcare professional with expertise in dietary management. A professional may suggest trialling a diet restricted in short chain fermentable carbohydrates.