Managing the symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS
There is no cure for IBS, but the symptoms of IBS can be managed.
As there are many possible triggers for IBS, finding the best remedy for your unique symptoms may take a bit of detective work. There is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment for IBS and often trial and error is the only way to discover what works best for you. These are some of the ways to manage the symptoms of IBS:
- Relieve abdominal pain, cramps and spasm with a product that contains an extensively researched ingredient designed specifically for medically diagnosed IBS, such as Mintec IBS Relief peppermint oil capsules.
- Identify factors that aggravate your symptoms.
- Change your diet as there is now evidence that eating certain types of food can contribute to the symptoms of IBS.
- Lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise and reducing intakes of caffeine and alcohol, and stop smoking.
- Reduce anxiety and stress, as they can affect the nerves of the bowel and make IBS symptoms worse. Meditation, exercise, relaxation therapy, hypnotherapy, behaviour therapy and counselling may help. Your doctor can help you decide what is appropriate for your specific needs.
- Control constipation by increasing fibre, fluid, exercise and perhaps laxatives.
- Control diarrhoea with antidiarrhoeal drugs.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional.
A new dietary management approach to control the symptoms of IBS called the Low- FODMAP Diet has been developed by an Australian research team led by Dr. Sue Shepherd, a Victorian dietician.
This exciting new research has produced strong evidence that certain carbohydrates referred to as FODMAPs are problematic for those with IBS.
FODMAP is an acronym or abbreviation with the letters representing:
- Fermentable – fermentation is the process of breaking down carbohydrates
FODMAPs all have similar characteristics in that they are small carbohydrates that are difficult for the small intestine to break down and absorb. The body responds by forcing water into the small intestine which affects the muscular contractions and may cause diarrhoea. As the FODMAPs are not absorbed, they are delivered to the colon. Bacteria that naturally live in the colon break them down quickly and in the process produce gases. FODMAPs are thought of as ‘fast food’ for colonic bacteria.
The table below shows some examples of foods that may be a problem for sufferers of IBS.
The Low-FODMAP Diet provides alternatives to problem foods.
Source: Food intolerance management plan by Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson
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If you would like to follow the Low-FODMAP Diet, it is recommended that you consult an Accredited Practising Dietician.