IBS is a condition which affects the digestive system and causes problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating or stomach cramps. It is often triggered by certain foods or stress but is an unpredictable condition which has no known cause. IBS stems from a change in the way the body digests food which could be too quickly or too slowly. It is not a condition which affects overall health and although the symptoms can be painful and cause disruption to daily life it can be managed and relieved.
There are some common triggers that could flare up IBS but these are not necessarily applicable to everyone:
- Fizzy drinks
- Drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee or cola
- Processed snacks, such as crisps and biscuits
- Fatty food
- Fried food
Methods to control IBS:
Food Diary: The best way to determine the potential cause of your IBS is to start recording a food diary. From monitoring the foods you consume you may be able to determine which foods to minimise intake or steer clear of.
Fibre: There are two types of fibre, soluble which the body can digest and insoluble which the body cannot digest. If you suffer from diarrhoea then reduce the insoluble fibre in your diet, i.e. wholegrain, cereals and nuts. If you suffer from constipation then increase the soluble fibre, i.e. fruits, vegetables, oats and barley.
Drink water on a regular basis to improve the digestive abilities of the body.
Participating in regular exercise has been suggested to reduce the symptoms of IBS.
Stress accompanies life in different forms, you need to determine whether there is a particular trigger to your stress and from that try and manage it.
For more information on IBS visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome